October 2002 News

US reiterates support for J&K elections

4 October 2002
The Times of India

WASHINGTON: Condemning violence in Kashmir, aimed at disrupting the election process, as ''absolutely unacceptable,'' US State Department has reiterated its support for free and fair polls, without outside interference, in the valley. ''We condemn very much extremist attempts to disrupt the elections in Kashmir. Therefore, violence is absolutely unacceptable,'' US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said. ''We are opposed to violence in Kashmir and we reiterate our support for free and fair elections in Kashmir held without outside interference and violence,'' he said. Reeker said ''we have always noted elections in Kashmir alone cannot solve the problems between India and Pakistan but they are important step towards a political process. Successful elections could pave the way for early resumption of diplomatic dialogue between India and Pakistan and we would continue to encourage that.'' ''Certainly violence has got to be condemned and every effort has got to be made to stop and prevent it,'' he said. On crossborder infiltration, Reeker said following Musharraf''s assurances in May that (Pakistan''s) support for infiltration across the Line of Control would be ended permanently, infiltration did decrease but there have been indications that it is continuing. ''It is, we believe, at lower levels than earlier this year.'' But that too is not helpful, given the tensions in the region, he said.


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