October 2001 News

Keep Kashmir in a box till Afghan crisis is over: Germany

25 October 2001
The Asian Age
M.V. Meenakshisundaram

Berlin: Agreeing that the Kashmir issue should be tackled bilaterally as ''one spark'' could be disastrous for the entire region, Germany said the issue ''should be kept in the box'' by both New Delhi and Islamabad till the Afghan crisis is resolved. ''We know that one spark (on the Kashmir issue) can be disastrous for the entire region. Germany will like the issue to be kept in the box and not to precipitate. Sooner or later the Kashmir problem has to be solved bilaterally,'' director general for political affairs in the German foreign ministry Thomas Natuseek told a group of visiting Indian newsmen here on Thursday. Lauding New Delhi''s move after the Kandahar hijacking incident as ''fantastic political effort,'' he said after the resolution of the Afghan crisis, if both countries wanted help from others, it would be extended. Stating that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was the ''best bet'' in the present circumstances, Natuseek apprehended that if there were large number of casualties of civilians in the US- led campaign against terrorism during the..... Month, unrest in Pakistan would grow posing a challenge to Musharraf. ''Stability of Pakistan is something which is absolutely essential now,'' he said. Referring to banning of terrorist groups by Washington which also included certain groups operating from Pakistan, he said that Germany regarded these terrorist groups to be part and parcel of Taliban. Stating that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the two sides of the same coin, Matuseek said that a holistic view has to be taken to tackle terrorism. He said that the international community including European Union and Afghan supported groups was working on a whopping rehabilitation package for Afghan people to enable them to come to the mainstream. ''We must be serious in putting in place the package. Germany is determined to do something and it will take it up with UN, EU and other international commities,'' he said adding in the next two to three weeks, international community would sell this idea.


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