March 2000 News

APHC ready for negotiated Kashmir solution

15 March 2000

New Delhi: A two-member All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) delegation met the US President Bill Clinton in Chicago Monday night on the eve of his South Asia visit starting next Sunday. A Hurriyat official in New Delhi said that American President gave a patient hearing to the Hurriyat team and claimed that issues raised during the meeting would ''prominently'' figure during Clinton''s meetings with South Asian leaders. The delegation led by Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director Kashmiri American Council (KAC), also delivered a letter to the US President, dispatched by the Acting Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. The letter has urged President Clinton to appoint a special envoy for South Asia to recommend Kashmir solution to the interested parties, and to meet with an APHC delegation during his week-long South Asia travels.The letter further said that Hurriyat was open to any settlement formula commanding the consent of the people of Kashmir as a whole and not just a vivisected part. The Hurriyat delegation told President Clinton that as long as the Line of Control (LoC) remained clamped down on the State of Jammu and Kashmir, it would continue imposing a heavy toll of lives. ''The untold miseries and sufferings of our people are due to what is called the LoC in Kashmir...As long as it will remain clamped down on the State of Jammu and Kashmir, it will not only continue to impose a heavy toll of death on the people, but will continue to make the people prisoners of physical as well as psychological uncertainty,'' delegation told Clinton. The letter signed by young Mirwaiz has also offered to cooperate with all concerned parties in working out a negotiated settlement based objectively on justice. ''We do not envision a final outcome, which will be complete victory or defeat for either India or Pakistan,'' said the memorandum presented to President Clinton. An officials spokesman of India''s External Affairs Ministry told newsmen here Wednesday that India and the United States would issue a joint statement outlining their bilateral relationship and the principles anchoring it during the five-day State visit of American President Bill Clinton, beginning March 21. Giving details of Clinton''s programme, the spokesman said the President would arrive here late in the afternoon of March 19 when he would be received by Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Panja at the airport. However, Clinton''s official programme begins on the morning of March 21 with a ceremonial reception in the forecourt of President House (Rashtrapati Bhavan) as the previous day he would be in Dhaka on an official visit. Clinton will then proceed to Rajghat to lay a wreath at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi and plant a sapling there. He will directly reach Hyderabad House here for a meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee which will be followed by delegation-level talks. The two sides will then sign some agreements and the joint statement. Vajpayee will host a lunch in Clinton''s honour at Ashok Hotel. In the evening, Clinton will call on President K R Naryanan who will later host a banquet in his honour at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Earlier, Vice-President Krishan Kant will call on Clinton. On March 22, the US President will address a joint session of both Houses of Parliament which will be preceded by a call by Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi. Some Union ministers will also call on Clinton during his stay. Clinton leaves for Agra in the afternoon where he will address a seminar on environment and see the Taj Mahal. In the evening, he flies to Jaipur where he will spend the night. The next morning he will visit the Amer Fort and a nearby village. Later, he goes to the game sanctuary at Ranthambor and returns to Jaipur to spend another night there. Clinton will leave for Hyderabad where he will address professionals at the Information Technology Park in the afternoon. He would visit a health project before flying for Mumbai. In the evening, he will have meetings with representatives of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the American Chambers of Commerce, besides attending a meeting of ''next generation'' youth.After spending the night in the city, Clinton, in the words of Indian spokesman will leave for westwards. The spokesman did not want to name Islamabad as Clinton''s destination for a ''stop-over''.


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