December 2004 News

Kashmir, Palestine ripe for solution: Musharraf meets editors

1 December 2004
The Dawn

Buenos Aires: President Pervez Musharraf has said that the Kashmir and Palestine disputes are ripe for solution and failure is not an option any more. In a wide-ranging interaction with editors of leading Argentinian newspapers on Wednesday, President Musharraf said Pakistan wanted peace but could not sideline the key Kashmir dispute. He stressed that both dispute-resolution and confidence- building measures should move forward in tandem. Referring to his meeting with the Indian prime minister in New York and the statement issued after the meeting, President Musharraf emphasized that he saw light at the end of the tunnel but Pakistan's efforts should be reciprocated by India. 'Pakistan is ready, India will have to come along,' he added. Reviewing the regional and international situation, the president said the world needed to address the issue of terrorism in its long-term perspective to eradicate poverty and hunger and establish sustainable peace and achieve equitable development in the world. In this context, he referred to his theory of enlightened moderation and said both the Muslim world and the West, in particular the United States, should play their roles, ensuring socio-economic development in the Muslim world. 'We must strive for addressing the menaces of extremism and terrorism in the long-term, otherwise, we will fail in the short-term perspective,' he said, referring to the actions taken against terror operatives, international fight against terror. The world, he said, had to combat terrorism frontally and reiterated Pakistan's firm resolve to stamp out the menace from the country. PALESTINE About the Palestine issue, he expressed the optimism that the long-standing dispute could be resolved. President Musharraf informed the Argentinian editors about the security situation in the region in the last half century in the context of Pakistan-India relations. Replying to a question, the president asserted that Pakistan was firmly committed to nuclear non-proliferation and would never proliferate. 'Whatever is happening in the world, Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved, showing the significance and importance of the country,' he said. He emphasized that Pakistan was a victim of wrong perceptions abroad and said these wrong perceptions must be corrected. The president said most of the disputes related to the Muslim world and were political in nature. 'It is a wrong perception that all Muslims are militant and it is also a misperception that the West is targeting the Muslims.' He said to correct the two misperceptions Pakistan was trying to deal with the immediate dimension of terrorism. TALKS WITH ARGENTINIAN PRESIDENT President Musharraf and his Argentinian counterpart Nestor Kirchener explored areas of common interest during their talks at the President House here on Wednesday. Both the leaders expressed their mutual resolve to begin a new era of strong political and economic relationship through increased trade. 'We already enjoy good political relations and agreed in today's meeting to take our relationship to a new level through increase in trade and commercial links,' President Musharraf said in a statement after talks with the Argentinian leader. The statement said the two leaders found consonance on major regional and international issues. President Musharraf reiterated Pakistan's position that it was against the creation of more centres of privilege and power through an expansion of the UN Security Council as it was against the principle of sovereign equality of nations. 'We are for a holistic approach to reform the United Nations to make it a potent world body,' he said. Both the leaders, who also attended the signing ceremony of agreements reached between the two countries, reaffirmed the resolve to share their views at international forums. Mr Kirchener said the agreements would lead to greater consultations between the two countries on major regional and international issues. He expressed the hope that President Musharraf's visit would lead to open a new chapter of relations between the two countries. He noted that an agreement already in place between the two countries on enhancing trade and economic ties would bolster mutually-beneficial cooperation for the well-being of the people of both the countries. The Argentinian leader thanked Pakistan for extending support to Buenos Aires on major international issues. The foreign ministers of the two countries also signed an agreement on visa waiver for the holders of diplomatic passport. President Musharraf expressed the hope that Argentinian business leaders would attend the Expo 2005 in Pakistan and assured them of his firm commitment to facilitate private sectors of both the countries towards taking trade ties to new heights. The president said the two countries would invigorate efforts to boost economic ties and make up for the lost time as both nations would benefit from this. He also hinted at the possibility of bilateral cooperation in the area of satellite communication. Reciprocating President Musharraf's views, the Argentine leader described the meeting as excellent and said 'We are convinced that we have laid down solid foundations to develop closer relations - we have the will to search imaginatively the ways to promote cooperation in various fields including science and technology.' He said under the framework of enhancing trade and economic ties, a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission would be held soon to provide impetus to bilateral cooperation. Mr Kirchener said he and President Musharraf also agreed to spur interaction in the fields of sports and culture. He expressed the hope that the two nations would overcome geographic hurdles to forge closer ties. 'We will develop great links on the basis of equality and mutual respect.' Mr Kirchener said Argentina being a member of the regional trade bloc - MERCOSUR - could provide Pakistan a base for expanding trade links. Earlier, President Musharraf was accorded a warm reception on his arrival at the Argentine President House. Earlier, President Musharraf was accorded a warm welcome upon his arrival here late Tuesday evening for a three-day official visit from Brazil. A contingent of Argentinian armed forces presented a guard of honour to the president. The national anthems of both countries were played.


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