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Mandela could act as mediator: Abdullah

July 04, 2003 17:07 IST

Farooq Abdullah, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, has said South African leader Nelson Mandela can mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"One man who has proved beyond doubt, a good man, is Nelson Mandela. A man who fought for his country and got freedom for his country. A friend of India, a friend of Pakistan, a friend of free world," he told Karan Thapar in the Big Question programme for Doordarshan.

He also described Kashmir as a 'core' issue.

Former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral and Congress Member of Parliament Natwar Singh, who also participated in the programme, however, completely disagreed with Abdullah.

They said that there was no question of any third party mediation, a stand consistently taken by India.

They also maintained that Kashmir was not a core issue and there were many other important matters that had to be sorted out between India and Pakistan.

While Abdullah was of the view that the National Democratic Alliance government was not clear as to what it wanted on Kashmir, Gujral termed Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's hand of friendship to Pakistan as a 'melodramatic' step

Singh said the government has been 'inconsistent' and the peace initiative was a 'peculiar diplomatic exercise'. Attacking Vajpayee and his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani for saying that a solution to the Kashmir issue needed compromises and could involve give and take on the part of India and Pakistan, Singh said their statements were against the spirit of the 1994 Parliament resolution that Kashmir was an integral part of India.

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