US Officials Cold-shoulder Geelani
19 September 2003
The Times of India
Srinagar: Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led Hurriyat received a set back on Wednesday when visiting US diplomats to Srinagar decided to ignore him, preferring instead to meet leaders from Ansari's Hurriyat faction. This, despite the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) recognising him as the Chairman of Hurriyat and sending invitation to attend its crucial session in New York later this month. In a communication faxed to Geelani on Wednesday, OIC functionary Abdul Ahad-al-Aziz has addressed him as Chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference and specially invited him to attend a Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Islamic Nations. In contrast, a team of US diplomats which arrived here on Thursday met leaders of Ansari's Hurriyat while keeping away from Geelani's Hurriyat Conference. The team also met separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah. A team from the American Embassy in New Delhi and a representative from State Department called on Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to discuss the situation in Kashmir and on Indo-Pak front. The team also met Bilal Lone of Peoples Conference. Later, the State Department representative flew back to New Delhi while the rest of the team held detailed meetings with Hurriyat Leaders. The team showed no inclination to meet the dissidents who floated a new Hurriyat headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Earlier, a team of British diplomats visited Kashmir and met only the leaders of Ansari's Hurriyat but decided not to develop any contact with the new conglomerate.