US asks Pakistan to respond positively to cease-fire
1 December 2000
ISLAMABAD: US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Karl Inderfurth has urged Pakistan and Kashmiri Mujahideen organisations to respond positively to the Indian prime minister Vajpayee’s ceasefire offer in the holy month of Ramazan in occupied Kashmir. He expressed the hope that the cease-fire in Kashmir would help broaden the peace process. Positive response from Islamabad and Mujahideen would help create climate conducive for dialogue. Inderfurth held discussions with the Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and Foreign Secretary Lalit Maan Singh on a whole range of issues including Afghanistan. He reiterated Washington’s support to peace initiatives undertaken by India. “I have good discussion with the Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh particularly on the recent peace initiative by Prime Minister Vajpayee for a cease-fire. We talked about what responses there have been on the initiative todate. And I hope it will lead to a dialogue among all the parties. So we have a very extended discussion on it.” Inderfurth told Door Darshan TV. He said that the initial statement from Islamabad at this announcement by Vajpayee was that it would watch developments carefully. “We hope as there are movements towards the cease-fire, that Pakistan will acknowledge the reason and will respond appropriately. We believe there is a growing constituency for peace in Kashmir. Peace can be broadened if there can be a reduction in the level of violence. We believe that all the parties should try to take steps to include the groups in Kashmir itself”, he argued. He said that the American people will support, whoever takes office they will support a continuation of the improvement in US-Indian relations. Inderfurth said that President Clinton’s visit did more than any thing else that can imagine to signal the new approach of the United States towards India. He said “If the same level of mutual respect can be carried forward then I think we have a great deal that we can do with India on a broad based agenda.