November 2000 News

Respect ceasefire, U.S. tells militants

20 November 2000
The Hindu
Sridhar Krishnaswami

WASHINGTON: The Clinton administration today welcomed the Prime Minister, Mr. A. B. Vajpayee''s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan and urged the militant groUSAto begin a process to end the conflict. According to a State Department official, the U.S. President, Mr. Bill Clinton, had said that for the Kashmir dispute to be resolved there should be restraint, respect for the Line of Control, rejection of violence and renewal of dialogue. ''Mr. Vajpayee''s announcement is fully consistent with these principles,'' the official said. ''We hope it represents an opening towards a process of dialogue that Kashmiris, Indians and Pakistanis want to begin.'' On media reports that militant outfits had already rejected Mr. Vajpayee''s offer, the State Department official said, ''we urge them (the militant groups) to use this opportunity to begin a process to end the conflict''. Russia hails India PTI reports from New Delhi: Russia today said India deserved to be ''congratulated'' for announcing suspension of combat operations against militants in Jammu and Kashmir during the month of Ramzan. ''My only reaction is that India must be congratulated'' for the ceasefire declaration, the visiting Russian First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. V. I. Trubnikov, told reporters here. China cautious In Beijing, China refrained from commenting on the ceasefire but hoped New Delhi and Islamabad would resolve their differences, including the vexed Kashmir issue, through peaceful means. ''We hope both India and Pakistan will settle all their differences, including the dispute over Kashmir, by peaceful means through dialogue and consultation,'' the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mr. Sun Yuxi, said.


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