U.S eager to back peace effort: Celeste
11 December 2000
Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI: The USA has voiced support to the unilateral ceasefire offer of the Vajpayee Government to the militants in Jammu and Kashmir and expressed the hope that the peace initiative would move forward. This was personally conveyed to the Union Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, by the U.S. Ambassador to India, Mr. Richard Celeste, who called on him here today. Expressing his government''s ''keen interest'' in the peace initiative taken by Mr. Vajpayee, last month in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Celeste discussed several aspects of the ceasefire in a 35-minute meeting with the Home Minister. He said he was able to know about Mr. Advani''s evaluation of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly after the announcement of the ceasefire. Mr. Celeste told reporters that the U.S. was ''very eager'' to support the peace initiative and ''hopeful'' of efforts in this direction. Replying to a query if the U.S. felt that conditions were conducive now for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, he said: ''My government has been consistently encouraging dialogue between India and Pakistan on the whole range of issues.''