May 2000 News

Govt ready for talks with anyone in J&K - Advani

7 May 2000
Indian Express

Ahgam (Kashmir): Union Home Minister L K Advani today said the Centre was ready to talk to any group in Jammu and Kashmir if it was willing to enter into a dialogue and it was for the government to decide whether to involve Hurriyat Conference in the negotiations. He defended India''s stand of no talks with Pakistan until it stopped cross-border terrorism. Asked if he would extend formal offer of talks to Hurriyat Conference, Advani told reporters here ''it is for the government of India to decide.'' ''As far as any group in Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, we can talk to anybody who is willing to talk to us,'' he said after inaugurating a school. Advani said the release of Hurriyat Conference leaders was a goodwill gesture on part of the government. Asked if there was any indication of talks from the released leaders, he said ''I don''t want to speak''. He ducked further questions on the Hurriyat Conference. ''At the moment what has been done is to create a climate in which it is possible for any section of Kashmiris to hold talks with government,'' Advani said. On dialogue with Pakistan, Advani said ''we are not going to talk to Islamabad until it stops cross-border terrorism.'' He said Pakistan was still trying to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir by pushing in infiltrators. ''But our forces are alert to defeat nefarious design of Islamabad.'' Chattisinghpora massacre showed that Pakistan was indulging in cross-border terrorism, Advani said, adding ''international opinion is in favour of India after the Kargil intrusion.'' Earlier, addressing the function organised by army in connection with inauguration of the school, the Home Minister said the Kargil conflict saw majority of the countries supporting Pakistan turning away from it. These countries appreciated India''s stand on Kashmir, he said.


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