Archive for Sunday, December 3, 2000

Pakistan vows restraint along disputed Indian border

December 3, 2000

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— Pakistani troops will show "maximum restraint" along the line that separates them from Indian forces in the disputed region of Kashmir. This is an effort to "strengthen and stabilize" an Indian-declared cease-fire in Kashmir, the Pakistani government said Saturday.

Pakistan, which serves as a base for many guerrilla groups fighting Indian forces in Kashmir, did not call on those groups to halt their attacks, which have continued daily since India began its cease-fire Monday. But the government said it is prepared to start a "meaningful dialogue" with India about Kashmir and called on India to let separatist political leaders from Indian Kashmir travel to Pakistan to prepare three-way negotiations among India, Pakistan and Kashmiris.

"This initiative is a test of India's sincerity and resolve to pursue the cease-fire to its logical end," Pakistan's foreign secretary, Inam ul-Haque, told reporters. He said Pakistan seeks to peacefully end the 11-year conflict between Indian troops and Muslim separatist rebels, and to negotiate a "final settlement" to its longstanding territorial dispute with India over the Himalayan border region.

India says the Kashmir conflict is an internal Indian problem and insists it will not hold talks with Pakistan until Pakistan stops supporting "cross-border terrorism" in Kashmir.

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