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US opposes pre-conditions for talks

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    US opposes pre-conditions for talks

    US opposes pre-conditions for talks



    WASHINGTON, July 27: The US does not support the pre-conditions set by India for resumption of the Lahore dialogue, as
    claimed by the Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh after his meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a senior state department official said on Monday.
    "The Secretary and Mr Singh talked about the importance of resuming the Lahore process. And that was it. She did not talk about
    anything else, in terms of conditions on resumption of Pakistani-Indian talks," the official told Dawn.
    The official was asked about the impression given by the Indians after the Singapore talks, to the effect that the US agrees with the three pre-conditions -- Kargil pull out, inviolability of LoC and end to cross border terrorism -- and whether the US agrees with
    that impression or did the Secretary support them.
    The official said: "No, not really. Secretary Albright did say that she and Mr Singh talked about the importance of the Pakistanis
    following through on their commitments on the withdrawal of the remaining portions of forces from Kargil. And we talked about the
    importance of resuming the Lahore process. And that was it. She did not talk about anything else, in terms of conditions on
    resumption of Pakistani-Indian talks.
    Q: So this is probably the Indian spin on the outcome of their meeting.
    A: I would guess so. But I cannot speak authoritatively on that.
    Q: Jaswant Singh has been quoted as saying that the secretary of state did not nudge or encourage India to move for the larger
    resolution of the Kashmir issue. Would that be a correct quote.
    A: Here we have the secretary saying that we talked about resuming the Lahore process and the general importance of moving forward on both the non-proliferation issues as well as on some positive movement and thinking on the Kashmir issue itself.
    Q: The secretary talked about a positive movement on Kashmir. Is it by Indians or Pakistanis or what.
    A: It could be positive movement by any one.
    Q: The secretary and Jaswant Singh talked about India being invited to the "community of democracies" where you have 11
    members. What exactly is this.
    A: This is an initiative that the US is taking in a global sense in which the countries with great deal of experience with democratic institutions would be put together and talk about how to best promote democracy round the world. India is a pretty obvious
    candidate as it is a functioning democracy since its independence and has overcome a lot of problems that Third world countries
    face. There is not a sense here that India being a kind of regional hub or focal point.
    Q: That does not make India the representative of the region.
    A: No it does not.
    Q: What stage is this project on.
    A: They are trying to set up a meeting of countries.
    Q: India has said that all the rebels have been pushed out of their territory on Monday. Does it mean that the stage is now set for
    starting the larger dialogue on Kashmir.
    A: I think it is going to require work between India and Pakistan to move on larger talks. I think that is not for us to determine. We are not setting up a time line on this.
    Q: What is exactly meant by a qualitative shift in US-Indian relations.
    A: I would not try to down play it. There has been a positive shift in US-Indian relations in last few months. In many ways you can
    attribute it to...that we worked together in a positive and cooperative way in trying to overcome a significant crisis in Kargil. I don't mean anything is to be taken away from Pakistan because we worked in a positive way with Pakistan as well to defuse the crisis. In the case of India it is kind of a new experience.


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