June 2000 News

France asks Pak to stop infiltration into J&K

3 June 2000
Daily Excelsior

Islamabad: France has asked Pakistan to stop ''armed infiltration'' across the Line of Control (LoC) and use its ''influence'' with militant groups operating in Kashmir for reduction of the level of violence there, as it asserted that there could be no military solution to the issue. ''France is very attentive to the situation in Kashmir, in all its aspects. It recognises fully the sensitivity of this long-standing issue between India and Pakistan,'' French Ambassador to Pakistan Yannick Gerard said, adding ''there can be no military solution'' to the issue. In an interview to Pakistan''s official APP news agency, Gerard said Pakistan should ''prevent armed infiltration across the LoC and use its ''influence with militant groups to reduce the level of violence in Kashmir.'' He said the European Union (EU) and France believed that a peaceful settlement of this crucial issue could begin with the implementation of the already agreed confidence-building measures between the two sides. This should be followed by more steps in this regard, he added. Pakistan and India should resume dialogue in the spirit of Simla agreement and Lahore declaration, he said, adding ''at the same time, we urge Pakistan and India to continue to respect the LoC.'' Welcoming the reported willingness of Pakistan''s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf to have dialogue with India at ''anytime, anywhere and at any level'', Gerard said the continuing confrontation and violent clashes along the LoC bear a great risk of uncontrollable escalation and pose a major threat to regional stability and security.'' ''We hope to see progress on these issues in the near future. He said EU and France have been calling for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue during their contacts with the two countries. To a question, he said as far as human rights are concerned, ''the EU has regularly expressed its concerns regarding Kashmir in the framework of the UN Human Rights Commission.'' Replying to a question on nuclear proliferation, he said EU has urged both India and Pakistan to sign CTBT. It urges the US and China to do the same and to take part constructively in negotiations in a cut-off treaty. They should exert stringent control on nuclear and missile technology and enter into commitments of ''no-weaponisation and no-deployment'' of nuclear missiles. On Pak-French ties, he hoped bilateral relations of cooperation will ''receive a new impulse when some of the present uncertainties are overcome. That is also what general Musharraf was told by our Foreign Minister in Paris last month.'' France and EU, he said, have ''recognised the importance of stability and security of Pakistan as well as the need to avoid its isolation.


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