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SLUG: 2-290198 Bush/Russia/South Asia (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=5/25/02

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=BUSH/RUSSIA/SOUTH ASIA (L)

NUMBER=2-290198

BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON

DATELINE=ST. PETERSBERG

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: A day after signing a landmark arms reduction treaty, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are focusing on cutting tensions in South Asia. V-O-A's Paula Wolfson reports, during a visit to St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin's hometown, they appealed to India and Pakistan to resolve their differences peacefully.

TEXT: It was a joint effort at diplomacy.

During a visit to St. Petersburg's famous Hermitage Museum, Presidents Bush and Putin were asked about escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.

President Putin (speaking through an interpreter) urged leaders of the two countries to join him at a regional meeting already scheduled to take place early next month in Kazakhstan.

/// PUTIN IN RUSSIAN AND ENGLISH TRANSLATOR ///

I do hope they will come, and there would be an opportunity for us to discuss things.

/// END ACT ///

For his part, President Bush urged Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to follow through on his promise to stop Islamic militants from attacking Indian-controlled Kashmir.

/// BUSH ACT ///

It is very important for President Musharraf to stop -- do what he said he is going to do in his speech on terror, and that is stop the incursions across the line of control. It is important that the Indians know he is going to fulfill that promise.

/// END ACT ///

Both Presidents Bush and Putin stressed that they are working together to help keep the situation in the region from getting worse. Mr. Bush said they are carrying a message of peace, saying India and Pakistan must understand that there is no benefit to a clash that could lead to a broader war.

Later, U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell called on both sides to think carefully before inflaming the situation. He said the Pakistani missile test conducted earlier Saturday, while announced in advance, came at a bad time.

/// POWELL ACT ///

I don't think it was a particularly useful thing to do right now, even though I don't think it causes us to get any closer to conflict.

/// END ACT ///

All the same, Mr. Powell admits he is as concerned now as he was back in January, when tensions peaked between India and Pakistan, and there were fears the two countries might go to war. (signed)

NEB/PW/TW



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