November 22, 2002

US Wants Pak-India Dialogue, Says Powell

The US wants to see beginning of a dialogue between Pakistan and India, and after that if both sides are ready Washington can play a role, said visiting US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

He was responding to a question whether the US would like to play the role of a facilitator, during a press conference here on wednesday. He addressed newsmen jointly with Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar after holding talks at the Foreign Office and meeting President Pervez Musharraf He said President Pervez Musharraf's speech was a de-escalatory step. He expressed the hope that soon there would be a military de-escalation between India and Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said Pakistan would respond immediately to any Indian steps towards de-escalation. "My two visits demonstrate the value we attach to Pakistan and the new relations that are long-term," said Powell.

He said that he would take to India what he had seen and noted in Pakistan. He said that he would meet Jaswant Singh in New Delhi and review the situation there. He said he had noted that 1,900 extremists had been detained, the president had ordered the registration of religious schools and there was a crackdown on the fund-raising activities. He said the US hoped President Musharraf's speech would reduce tension in the region.

He said there has to be resolution of all disputes through dialogue and not through terror and conflict.

Powell planned to travel to Afghanistan for a brief stop on Thursday to discuss plans with the new interim administration to rebuild the war-shattered country, then head onward to India.

Powell also will travel to Nepal to show support for the government against Maoist rebels, and to Japan. APP adds: Powell discussed with President General Pervez Musharraf the prevailing tense situation between India and Pakistan.

They discussed bilateral relations, situation in Afghanistan, and in particular the situation arising out of massive military deployment by India on Pakistani borders. The president emphasised the need for resolving the Kashmir problem which is the core issue between India and Pakistan and endangers the peace in the region. Powell told the president that US administration is actively working to reduce tension in the region.

(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2002)

In This Series
US Praises Pakistan While South Asia Tension Still High

US and UN Welcome Musharraf Speech

Pakistan to Defuse India Tensions With new Policy

Tang, Powell Exchange Views on Indian-Pakistan Tension

India Builds up Forces as Bush Urges Calm

US "Very Much Involved" in Defusing India-Pakistan Tension: Bush



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