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July 29, 1999
Inderfurth sees 'useful' role for US on Kashmir issue
C K Arora in Washington
United States Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian affairs Karl Inderfurth last night visualised a "useful" facilitating role for the US and the international community even as India and Pakistan directly dealt with the contentious Kashmir issue.
Talking to newsmen he, however, said, "Let me state again here that the United States has no intention to mediate in South Asia. We have made this clear repeatedly to both Indian and Pakistani officials."
Yet, Kargil demonstrated the "great concern and interest" that the international community had in a peaceful resolution of this latest Kashmir crisis, he said while referring to External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh's July 20 speech at New Delhi's India International Centre in which the latter had stated that "in today's age no conflict, least of all between two states possessing nuclear weapons, can escape the global media spotlight."
Inderfurth believed that the US had played a "useful supportive role" in the Kargil crisis. US President Bill Clinton's direct involvement had helped. Other countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and other members of the G-8 had lent a helping hand.
He said President Clinton had stated his "personal interest" in promoting a return to the Lahore process and "the key to peace between India and Pakistan lies in the kind of enhanced bilateral contacts that the process offers."
He said the US had decided two years ago to "devote more intensive and sustained attention to South Asia. The events surrounding Kargil reinforced that desire.''
He said, "The Kargil crisis also demonstrated that force not only does not work, it can set back the prospects for a durable solution. One clear casualty of Kargil was the Lahore process and the hope and trust that it generated, we are hopeful it can be restored as quickly as possible.''
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