July 2003 News

APHC chief against US mediation

13 July 2003
The Daily Times

SRINAGAR: The newly elected chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) on Sunday said he was against US mediation between India and Pakistan to resolve their dispute over the Himalayan region.'I am dead against mediation by the United States between India and Pakistan in getting the issue of Kashmir resolved,' Moulvi Abbas Ansari told reporters in Srinagar.Ansari, the 65-year-old head of the Ithadul Muslimeen, on Saturday became the first Shiite Muslim to lead the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a collection of two dozen parties opposed to Indian rule. Previous Hurriyat leaders have urged for US mediation, but Ansari said it would show India and Pakistan were 'impotent' and unable to resolve issues.'And if the US gives a roadmap to resolve the Kashmir issue it will not be good for India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir,' he added. If the United States did succeed in resolving Kashmir, it would always be able to boast of 'doing a great favour to all three parties.'Ansari said India, Pakistan and Kashmiris could resolve the issue without the help of outsiders.'I am very much optimistic if we ( India, Pakistan and Kashmiris ) sit to discuss the issue, we will definitely negotiate a solution,' he said. 'Even if the US intervenes we will have to sit and talk. So let's do it ourselves,' he said. Ansari said the Hurriyat would talk to the Indian government if invited to do so by the Indian premier. 'We will talk to Vajpayee if he invites us,' said Ansari 'We believe in highest-level dialogue.' Earlier this year India appointed a new pointman on Kashmir, N N Vohra, but no separatist has agreed to talk to him. Ansari said a solution to Kashmir had to be carved out by India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership. 'Bilateral talks, either between India and Pakistan or between New Delhi and Kashmiris, have failed in the past,' he said.'We can't have a durable solution by sidelining Pakistan,' he said. -AFP


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