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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-321376 Pakistan / India Talks (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=12/27/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=PAKISTAN/INDIA/TALKS (L-O)

NUMBER=2-321376

BYLINE=AYAZ GUL

DATELINE=ISLAMABAD

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

HEADLINE: India and Pakistan report progress in Peace Talks

INTRO: Pakistan and India have reported progress in

their year-long peace process but they remain far apart on

ways to resolve their territorial dispute over Kashmir, the

cause of two of the three wars between them. From Islamabad, Ayaz Gul reports.

TEXT: Senior Indian and Pakistani officials began talks in

Islamabad Monday in an effort to accelerate their slow-moving peace process launched earlier this year.

In the first of two days of talks, Pakistan's Foreign

Secretary Riaz Khokar and his Indian counterpart Shyam Saran exchanged proposals on how to reduce risks of another

conventional war and build confidence about nuclear weapons

the two countries possess.

Officials from both the countries say the two sides exchanged proposals but agreed these would require further study before any agreement could be reached.

The most contentious issue between India and Pakistan, the

divided region of Kashmir, will come under discussion

Tuesday. But Indian Foreign Secretary Saran has rule out any quick breakthrough in that dispute.

He was speaking to reporters at the end of first round of

talks.

///SARAN ACT///

"If you are looking at an instant solution or if you are

looking at a solution that is visible on the horizon, that is not the case at this point in time. Given the complexity of the situation it is difficult to just sit down and find a solution over the next couple of days."

///END ACT///

Mr. Saran says that both India and Pakistan must sustain

their current peace dialogue to try to narrow down their

differences in issues like Kashmir.

///SARAN ACT///

"If we make it possible for people to interact with each other more, if we make it possible for people from both sides of the border - both sides of the LOC (cease-fire line in Kashmir) - to have greater contact perhaps options, which do not appear visible today perhaps over a period of time options will become more visible."

///END ACT///

Pakistan has put forward a broad range of proposals to

resolve Kashmir. They include demilitarizing the territory

while a compromise is sought over its status, which could

include joint control, some form of United Nations control or independence of Kashmir. But India has rejected a redrawing of borders in the disputed region.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan told a

separate news conference that if rigid positions were

maintained the dialogue process will not progress. However,

he noted the peace talks are helping reduce tensions in the

region.

///KHAN ACT///

"We have come a long way from that situation that

brinkmanship, which everybody feared could escalate to the

nuclear level. We have differences of course but we are

sitting across the table and we are talking to each other."

///END ACT///

Pakistan and India came close to another war over Kashmir in 2002. But since then, the two countries have restored

diplomatic and sports links. The cease-fire agreement along

the military line dividing Kashmir has held for more than a

year.

On Monday, India said it will grant visit visas at its land

border to Pakistanis over age 65 and under 12 as well as let Pakistanis study in India.

Pakistan also offered relief aid to India after parts of the country were devastated by Sunday's powerful tsunami.

(SIGNED)

NEB/AG/RH



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