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INTRO:  U-S Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering 
has met (Friday) with Pakistan's military leader for 
talks that included ways to restart a dialogue with 
India.  As VOA's Scott Anger reports from Islamabad, 
the meeting is part of a three-day visit by Mr. 
Pickering, who met earlier with Indian officials in 
New Delhi.
TEXT:  A Pakistani government statement says General 
Pervez Musharraf urged Mr. Pickering to press its 
arch-rival India to re-start talks on the disputed 
region of Kashmir. 
Kashmir has been a source of tension in the region for 
years.  India accuses Pakistan of backing an armed 
Muslim insurgency in the two-thirds of Kashmir it 
controls.  Pakistan denies the charge and says it only 
provides moral, political and diplomatic support to - 
what it calls - freedom fighters.
The United States says it will not mediate the 
dispute.  Washington maintains the two countries 
should resolve the issue through bilateral 
Mr. Pickering's visit comes amid strained relations 
between Pakistan and the United States.  During a 
brief visit in March, President Clinton criticized 
Pakistan's support of the armed insurgency in Kashmir.  
Mr. Clinton also has asked Pakistan to use its 
influence with Afghanistan's hard-line Taleban 
movement to help bring suspected terrorist Osama bin 
Laden to justice.   U-S officials have accused Mr. bin 
Laden masterminding the bombings of two American 
embassies in Africa in 1998.
The government's statement says General Musharraf 
looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United 
States and has expressed hope Mr. Pickering's visit 
will further cooperation between the two countries.
Since General Musharraf seized power in Pakistan last 
October, Washington has been urging the military to 
restore democracy as soon as possible.  On the day Mr. 
Pickering arrived in Pakistan, General Musharraf 
announced his government will abide by a recent 
Supreme Court ruling, which set a three-year deadline 
for the restoration of civilian rule.  Before the 
ruling, General Musharraf had rejected efforts by the 
United States to set a timeframe for the restoration 
of democracy.
Mr. Pickering's talks, which also focused on nuclear 
non-proliferation, follow reports from Washington that 
both Pakistan and India were preparing another round 
of nuclear tests.  The State Department says both 
countries have reassured them no such tests are 
Pakistani officials have told Mr. Pickering they have 
declared a moratorium on further testing but reserve 
the right to conduct nuclear tests if rival India 
Mr. Pickering is the first senior official to visit 
Pakistan since President Clinton's five-hour stop in 
March.  Another round of talks between Pakistan and 
the United States is scheduled for next month in 
Washington.   (SIGNED)
26-May-2000 10:40 AM EDT (26-May-2000 1440 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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