September 2000 News

Mission Kashmir Of European Union Ambassadors

20 September 2000
The Times of India
Bisheshwar Mishra

New Delhi: The extended troika of the European Union delegation coordinated by the French ambassador in India Bernard de Monteferrand is going on a three-day fact-finding mission to Jammu and Kashmir on Monday. The delegation comprising the ambassadors of France, Sweden, Belgium and Portugal, and led by EU ambassador Michel Caillouet, will be ''meeting the local authorities and various representatives of political parties and the civil society,'' it was reliably learnt by The Times of India on Tuesday. This delegation has been going to Jammu and Kashmir for an on-the- spot assessment for the past five years. The members keep on rotating for coordination. Last year it was the Portuguese ambassador who had coordinated the visit. The delegation will be meeting leaders of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, other political groupings and a cross-section of the local people. The ambassadors will reportedly try to meet representatives of the Hizbul Mujahideen. They would also be assessing the condition of Kashmiri Pandits driven out of the Valley and will be meeting local authorities, sources said. The delegation will be hosted by the state government and is expected to give a report of their assessment to the Central government also. Some representatives of displaced Kashmiri Pandits had met the French ambassador and offered to guide the delegation to places where their property and places of worship had been destroyed in the Valley. However, this was not accepted by the troika. The European troika''s mission to J&K is expected to help create a better atmosphere for peace talks, government sources feel.


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