Omar Offers To Play 'facilitator' For Tripartite Talks

29 November 2009
Times of India

New Delhi: J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah has offered to play the “facilitator” for all concerned groups in the Kashmir dialogue as he favours triangular talks between India, Pakistan and the separatist leadership. Abdullah, in a TV interview, said he was ready to help militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen come to the talking table if it gave up violence. The views from the CM to speed up what is called the “dialogue process” comes as the Centre has opened “quiet diplomacy” with the separatist Hurriyat Conference. Expanding on the proposed role of facilitator, he was quoted in an agency report as saying, “You are not going to get a situation where New Delhi, Islamabad and Hurriyat are going to be sitting at the same table - it is not going to happen. Therefore, if you can work a system wherein you engage with Islamabad and you engage with New Delhi, both at the same time, I see no harm in it.” He added, “I have had engagement with the government of Pakistan as well as the government of India, and I don’t think anything harmful has come out of that.” As the Centre and the separatist leadership talks, the CM cautioned Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq that he take other members on board else they would join the hardline bandwagon and threaten the process. The CM said there was no problem in involving Hizbul Mujahideen if it gave up violence. “Yes, I don’t see any problem because we have done that not only in J&K, as I said, but also in other states,” he argued. Abdullah favours the quiet dialogue as prescribed by Centre. “I think quiet diplomacy is necessary for both sides to feel each other out, to see where the lines in the sand can be drawn, what they expect from each other and a certain amount of confidence-building.”