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Camps in PoK will be dismantled: Armitage
K J M Varma in Islamabad |
May 08, 2003 17:58 IST
United State Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on Thursday said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf assured him that there are no terrorist training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and even if there are a few of them left they will be 'dismantled tomorrow'.
Armitage, who held a 90-minute meeting with Musharraf, told reporters that the Pakistan president has given him 'absolute assurance' that there was no infiltration across the Line of Control.
The US deputy secretary of state will be visiting New Delhi on Friday. Armitage said he was not carrying any proposal for resolution of the Kashmir issue and denied that it was exerting pressure on both India and Pakistan to resolve it.
Expressing cautious optimism about the fresh peace initiatives by India and Pakistan, he said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made far-reaching statements in Srinagar.
Armitage, who also held talks with Jamali, Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri and other senior officials, said that infiltration of militants across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has come down compared to last year. "The infiltration and the cross border violence and the lethality are down from this time last year," he said. But he added, "But that does not fill me with great enthusiasm as any suffering is a cause of concern for us all."
Armitage, who is accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca, said considering the sensitivities between India and Pakistan, the two countries should first concentrate on political and economic confidence building measures. "There have to be serious CBMs on political and economic issues before the two countries, which had general confrontational stands take up issues like arms control," he said. "They can not be expected to take far reaching decisions on matters of arms control."
He denied the impression that the US has pressured India and Pakistan into the peace process. "I want to dispel the notion that there is pressure from US... It is not our stand to pressure Pakistan or India. If we can be helpful to begin dialogue, it will be helpful," he said.
Without going into the details of the talks he held with Pakistani leaders on Indo-Pak issues, Armitage said, "My discussions here would be faithfully carried to our Indian friends for them to study and decide on their course of response."
Asked whether India has done enough to bring down the tensions, Armitage said, "It is not useful pointing fingers at India and Pakistan. The United States faithfully discussed the issues with both sides. I am not gong to describe whether other side has done enough."
In reply to a question, he said, "All I know is that Vajpayee has made a far reaching statement in Srinagar. I have no doubt that he himself is a man of peace and he wants to have peace for and peace between India and Pakistan. Beyond that I cannot speculate on his motives." On the chances of the peace process succeeding, he said, "Time will tell. I am cautiously optimistic... there seems to be a sudden confidence in India and Pakistan about the ability to address all aspects of their relationship. That is the very good basis to move forward."
Kasuri, who was also present, said any solution to the Kashmir issue that does not take into consideration the aspirations of the people of Kashmir 'won't last'. He said Pakistan has expressed its willingness to enter into a 'tiered dialogue'.
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