Monday, January 12, 2004

India/Pakistan/US

The recent peace talks between India and Pakistan are the result of two years of encouragement by the US:

Describing the decision by India and Pakistan to resume composite dialogue as "historic", US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the breakthrough was the result of two years of work by his country and it had offered its "good offices" to further improve their relations.

"The work we have been doing with the Indians and the Pakistanis" produced a breakthrough over the last several days "but there is more work to be done, and we have offered our good offices to the Indians and the Pakistanis over the last couple of days," Powell said in an interview to the US News and World Report during the weekend.

"We have been working with the Indians and the Pakistanis for almost two years, from a period of 'We're going to nuclear war this weekend' to, you know, this is a historic change. And so I think a lot of these seeds that were planted are now germinating and you'll (see) us harvesting crops," he added.

During the SAARC Summit in Islamabad, India and Pakistan decided to resume composite dialogue on all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Powell expressed satisfaction with the "good job" being done by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in the face of a difficult domestic political situation and said he was concerned for Musharraf's safety after two attacks on him.

"I would be greatly concerned because I don't know what might come after him. He is a good friend and partner of the US. We support him. He has been an ally in the war on terror.

"He has been helpful in Afghanistan. He is doing more now in Afghanistan. He has started new military operations along the border areas. And we believe that he has a good agenda that deals with the education of his people and deals with anti-terrorism," Powell said.


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