May 2002 News

Straw rejects Pak suggestions for international observers on LoC

27 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Islamabad: Britain today rejected Pakistan’s suggestion to deploy international observers along the Line of Control to monitor India’s charge of cross-border terrorism and asked Islamabad to strictly implement UN resolution on terrorism. Kashmir ''is a bilateral dispute of long- standing and sadly, considerable bitterness between India and Pakistan'', British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw today said after talks with President Pervez Musharraf here. Issues like this should be resolved bilaterally between the two countries, he told reporters declining to accept Pakistan’s proposals to deploy neutral observers along LoC. However, he told reporters this did not mean that the international community had no responsibility to seek to avoid a war and to secure a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue. In reply to a question, Straw said Pakistan must strictly implement the UN resolutions on terrorism. He also declined to make a distinction between freedom fighters and terrorists as defined by Pakistan saying one country’s freedom fighters were terrorists for the rest of the world. That is how the IRA has tried to justify the violence to force a settlement in Northern Ireland, Straw said. He said the Pakistan President was in ''no doubt'' that the world community expected him to follow up assurances on weeding out cross-border terrorism with further ''clear action''. ''I think the President is under no doubt about the expectations of the international community for clear action to be taken in addition to that which has already been taken to clamp down on cross-border terrorism'', Straw said. On Musharraf’s claim that no infiltration was taking place into Kashmir, Straw said ''the test of assurances down the ages is how they work out on the ground, and it’s of course against the practice that all these matters are inevitably judged''. Describing his discussions with Musharraf as ''constructive and forthright'', Straw, who leaves for India tonight, said he carried no specific message for the Indian leaders. ''I have no message and I am not a messenger between India and Pakistan'', he said adding his visit was primarily aimed at apprising himself of the situation and convey the stand of the international community to the leadership of the two countries. There are ''clear limits'' to what the international community could do ''since decisions about war and peace rest with the parties to the dispute'', he said.


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