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PM's initiative will lead to peace: Armitage
May 10, 2003 18:42 IST
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on Saturday described Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's peace initiatives as a 'far-reaching act of statesmanship', adding he was 'cautiously optimistic' that it would lead to a step-by-step process that would eventually put India and Pakistan on the road to peace.
After hectic daylong talks with Indian leaders, including Vajpayee, Armitage, however, said that killing of innocent men and women (in Jammu and Kashmir) was terrorism and the violence has to stop. "My position is it is a terrible thing when we reduce the death of a person, a loved one of some family, to mere statistics. The fact is that all violence must end."
Asked if he had got any assurance from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf about ending cross-border terrorism, Armitage said the Pakistani president had assured him that there were no terrorist training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. "It is not my job to give assurance... It is not my job to tell our Indian friends what I think. It is for India to make up her own mind what she thinks about that particular statement (from Musharraf)," he said.
"We would like to see two great nations, India and Pakistan, living side-by-side in peace, stability and harmony," Armitage said. Acknowledging that it was a 'long trip' to get there, he said the US would like to develop its relations with both India and Pakistan.
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