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May 29, 1999
US not to send envoy over Kargil
C K Arora in Washington
The Bill Clinton administration has no plans of sending a special envoy to defuse the escalating military tension between India and Pakistan.
Apparently, the United States prefers to leave the two countries to sort out the matter directly and, if they need any help, its senior diplomats are available in New Delhi and Islamabad.
Moreover, the problem has not acquired that serious a dimension to warrant the attention of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who is preoccupied with the Kosovo crisis, according to officials.
Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth who is handling the situation, met Indian Ambassador Naresh Chandra and his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Khokhar, separately in Washington on Thursday and underlined the need for restraint -- the advice given earlier by the US envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad to the respective governments.
Replying to questions about the Kashmir situation yesterday, state department spokesman James Rubin said that senior American diplomats in India and Pakistan were in touch with host government officials ''to express our strong concern about this matter, to urge them to show restraint and prevent the fighting from spreading, and to urge both countries to work together to reduce tensions''.
Inderfurth gave the same message to the Indian and Pakistani ambassadors on Thursday, he added.
Rubin said the continued fighting underscored the need for India and Pakistan to resolve their differences.
''We hope they will be able to do this quickly in the context of the recent Lahore summit. We understand that there have been a number of conversations between Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharief. We believe that Indian and Pakistani military and political leaders need to be in touch so that there are no misunderstandings and miscalculations. We think they should support bilateral diplomatic efforts to pull their countries back from the danger of a heightened and far more dangerous conflict,'' he added.
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