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August 19, 2000
Fernandes rules out tripartite talks on Kashmir
Defence Minister George Fernandes has categorically ruled out any tripartite talks involving Pakistan, but said the government is ready for talks with Kashmiri militants without any preconditions.
"It is not the question of willingness. As far as the Kashmiri people are concerned we should always talk to them whenever they want," Fernandes said when asked whether the government was ready of talks on Kashmir after talks with the Hizbul Mujahideen failed.
In an interview to Doordarshan's news channel, to be telecast on Sunday, he made it clear that bilateral talks with Pakistan could be held only after Islamabad stopped aiding and abetting cross border terrorism.
Fernandes said he believed the Hizb favoured a dialogue. "Hizb has been involved with terrorist activities for the last 10-12 years. Many of their people have been killed.''
He denied that there were any differences in the government regarding the talks. It felt that the Kashmir problem could be solved only through dialogue.
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