May 2004 News

Hurriyat Hopes Change Of Government Will Not Affect Talks

14 May 2004
The Hindu

New Delhi: The Hurriyat Conference (Abbas faction) today expressed the hope that the talks between the separatists and New Delhi would continue even with a change of government at the Centre. 'I hope that a change of government will not make any difference as far as the solution to the Kashmir problem is concerned,' the Hurriyat chairman, Moulana Abbas Ansari, told The Hindu . 'Dialogue is the only way out. India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris will have to sit together and find a permanent solution.' The outgoing Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, and the Abbas-led Hurriyat held two rounds of talks in January and April this year and the third round was slated for June. 'Let us see whether the third round will take place in June since the new government will have to assess the situation and the progress on dialogue. I am hopeful that the Congress government will continue the dialogue in the larger interests of peace,' he said. Luv Puri reports from Jammu: The People's Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, whose party is supporting the Congress-led formation at the Centre, said: 'It was because of the efforts of the coalition Government that the National Democratic Alliance was forced to initiate talks with the Hurriyat or even Pakistan. We would expect the new government to continue this process.' The National Conference president, Omar Abdullah, said: 'We will sit in the opposition as the People's Democratic Party is already in alliance with the Congress. We will urge any formation that comes to power at the Centre to initiate a sincere dialogue with all sections of society within the State.' The State Congress leadership expressed the hope that the Congress-led formation at the Centre would help the peace process. The vice-president of the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee, Amrit Malhotra, said: 'The Congress has stakes in all three regions of the State where it has notched up the maximum number of seats. It would like to bring peace in the State at the earliest.'


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