June 2004 News

Kasuri Wants To Move Fast To Find A Kashmir Solution

16 June 2004
The Asian Age

Istanbul: Pakistan is confident of establishing good ties with India's new Congress-led government and believes it is important to act quickly to resolve the Kashmir dispute, its foreign minister said on Wednesday. Relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals, which came to the brink of war in 2002, thawed after former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee relaunched a peace process last year. 'I hope there will not be much momentum wasted,' foreign minister Mian Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri told Reuters in an interview, referring to the change of leadership in New Delhi after Mr Vajpayee's government was ousted in elections last month. 'We had developed a good degree of trust with the outgoing government... but I see no insurmountable difficulties in developing a similar level of trust with the new government.' He said it was encouraging that the new administration had not pointed the finger at Pakistan over a spate of violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir last weekend, blamed on militants fighting New Delhi's rule in the Himalayan region. Pakistan and India both hold parts of Kashmir, which was awarded to India on independence from Britain in 1947 but is claimed in its entirety by both countries. The territory was the spark for two of their three wars and the crisis in 2002. Mr Kasuri, in Istanbul for a three-day meeting of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, said he would meet his new Indian counterpart, Mr Natwar Singh, at talks in China next weekend.


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