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June 26, 1999
No unilateral withdrawal from Kargil: Pak
After weeks of denying its ability to withdraw armed intruders from Kargil, Pakistan's army chief General Pervez Musharraf today said there would be no ''unilateral withdrawal'' from Kargil.
The apparent turnaround came at a news briefing in the southern port city of Karachi when General Musharraf was asked whether Pakistan would withdraw its forces from Kargil.
''It is too early to say, (but) it's a government decision. It is the prime minister's decision. We will not withdraw unilaterally.''
The Pakistan army earlier this month had said its soldiers had moved from 15,000 feet to 18,000 feet to occupy posts in Kargil and Dras areas. However, the army had insisted these posts were located on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control.
Until now Pakistan has said its soldiers have not crossed the 1972 cease-fire line, which is known as the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
General Musharraf's statements follow meetings on Thursday and Friday with General Anthony Zinni, who was carrying a message from US President Bill Clinton demanding that Pakistan withdraw armed intruders from Kashmir.
General Zinni also met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief yesterday but a foreign ministry statement indicated the meeting ended in a stalemate with Pakistan pressing for a final settlement to the Kashmir problem.
General Musharraf also told reporters that efforts were being made for a meeting between Sharief and Clinton to be held ''soon.'' However, the army chief did not say when or where the meeting would be held.
''Obviously we do not want to escalate the situation and I am sure that India does not want to escalate (the situation) either,'' he said. ''Therefore we want to reach a solution that is mutually acceptable to us.''
General Musharraf said there were two issues: ''There is the tactical military issue of Kargil and Dras and the political dimension of Kashmir and both have to be tackled together.''
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