Military

 

26 November 2003

U.S. Welcomes Kashmir Ceasefire Agreement by India, Pakistan

Boucher says U.S. engaged with both India and Pakistan

The United States welcomes the announcement by India and Pakistan that they will observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir, said State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department press briefing in Washington November 26, Boucher said that Secretary of State Colin Powell had spoken with both the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers by telephone November 25 and welcomed their decision to observe a ceasefire. Boucher also said that Powell discussed the terms of the ceasefire currently being implemented with both sides.

"We think these steps towards peace offer hope for real progress in the region. As we've said before, greater engagement between them can lead to a resolution of their differences, including moving toward a permanent end of their conflict," Boucher said.

Following is an excerpt from the November 26 State Department briefing:

(begin excerpt)

QUESTION: Yesterday they announced ceasefire along the LOC or line of control, and if, in this process, if the U.S. played any role or not?

MR. BOUCHER: We have certainly kept in touch with both governments. We've welcomed the statements that have been made, the announcement by, I guess, the Pakistani Prime Minister first, and then the response, the very productive and constructive response from India.

The Secretary has kept in touch with the parties. He spoke yesterday by telephone with the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers. In those phone calls he welcomed their decisions to observe a ceasefire along the line of control in Kashmir and the Siachen Glacier area as well. We think this -- these steps toward peace offer hope for real progress in the region.

As we've said before, greater engagement between them can lead to a resolution of their differences, including moving toward a permanent end of their conflict. So we hope these measures that have been announced, and now implemented, are also followed by the implementation of steps to improve people-to-people ties. They're talking about communications and transportation links between India and Pakistan. And we look forward to the early implementation of all those steps that they've announced and talked about.

QUESTION: Finally, if there was any talk when he called them both, since India is still insisting that Pakistan must stop infiltrations or terrorism in Kashmir -- India's Kashmir -- before any full-scale friendship or relations between the two countries, if Secretary -- if any of these came between his telephone calls or something?

MR. BOUCHER: They've certainly discussed -- the Secretary has discussed with both sides the terms of the ceasefire that's being implemented now. But I'd say the emphasis has been on the implementation of the measures that they've announced, including the ceasefire, and we've certainly welcomed the announcements and now we welcome the implementation that's going on.

(end excerpt)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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