January 2000 News

J&K issue figures in US-Pak talks

21 January 2000

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States on Friday held talks over several issues of global and regional importance, including nuclear non-proliferation, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Indo-Pak relations.

The three-member US delegation led by the Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth held-detailed talks with foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan.

Mr. Inderfurth was accompanied by Donald Camp, a senior official of the Washington's National Security Council, Michael Sheehan, anti-terrorism expert at the State Department, and William B Milam, US ambassador in Pakistan. Pakistan's ambassador to US Maleeha Lodhi was also present in the meeting.

Mr Shamshad Ahmad emphasised Pakistan's policy of restraint and peace in the region and pointed to the initiatives taken by Pakistan at the higher level. He emphasised the "importance of peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues, particularly Kashmir, reaffirming Pakistan's unequivocal opposition to terrorism". The foreign secretary stressed that Pakistan itself is a "victim of terrorist acts sponsored from outside, which have increased in the recent months". The discussion also focussed on Afghanistan and Pakistan's recent peace efforts.

It is learnt that on Kashmir, Pakistan reiterated its position that the issue be resolved "peacefully" under UN resolution. Pakistan claimed India was "unwilling to address the issue in a meaningful and structured manner".

Pakistan also welcomed US President Bill Clinton's statement expressing readiness to work for solution of the Kashmir problem in the current year. It was stressed that Washington is in a position to play "a constructive role" in promoting peace and stability in the region.

On the issue of nuclear non-proliferation, the US officials were told that Pakistan fully supported all efforts aimed at promoting non-proliferation at regional and global levels and that it has actively taken up the negotiations on CTBT. But Pakistan made it clear that no impulsive decision will be taken and that Government would seek national consensus on the issue of CTBT.

Afghanistan also figured prominently in the meeting and the two sides discussed possibilities of restoring lasting peace in Afghanistan through formation of a broad-based Government. The progress achieved in this regard through the platform of six plus two formula also came under discussion.

Mr. Inderfurth was also briefed on Pakistan's position on the issue of terrorism. Pakistan's foreign office spokesman claimed the US team acknowledged Islamabad's role in "combating terrorism and the menace of narcotics".

Mr. Inderfurth and the members of his delegation will have talks with the Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar on Saturday, before he calls on the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Inderfurth will conclude his two-day visit to Pakistan on Saturday.


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