Hurriyat ready for talks with Centre
5 July 2000
The Times of India
New Delhi: Former Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq on Wednesday said the conference was ready for talks with the Centre provided the latter accepted it as party to the Kashmir issue. ''Yes, of course we are willing to hold dialogue with the centre...But it should be result-oriented and ensure the end of the decade-old bloodshed in the state,'' Umer told PTI before leaving for Srinagar. The mirwaiz was reacting to the statement made by Home Minister L K Advani on Tuesday that the government was willing to talk to anyone within the country and not with those operating from outside. While emphasising that Hurriyat was for talks, Umer said no pre-conditions should be attached to these. ''Everyone must come to the table with his own agenda,'' he said. Stating that all parties concerned with the Kashmir issue - India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir - should be at the table for talks, Umer, also the religious head of Kashmir, said a ''conducive atmosphere'' should be created for talks. He said the Centre should accept Kashmir as a core issue for improving relations with Pakistan. ''It is high time that the Centre accepted the fact that a proper and an unconditional dialogue with us or the true representatives of the Kashmiris is the need of the hour,'' Umer said.