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India-Pakistan Tensions Major Focus of Bush-Chirac Summit - 2002-05-26

President Bush held talks in Paris Sunday with President Jacques Chirac.

At a joint news conference after the talks, President Bush said world leaders are trying to defuse escalating tensions between Pakistan and India.

He said Pakistan's decision to conduct two missile tests this weekend is a matter of concern. But he said he is more worried about the cross-border raids that have claimed the lives of Indian soldiers and civilians in Kashmir.

"We expressed deep concern and continue to express concern about testing," he said. "And I am more concerned, insisting with other world leaders including the President of France, that President Musharraf show results in terms of stopping people from crossing the Line of Control, stopping terrorism."

The future of the war on terrorism has been a big topic during Mr. Bush's European tour. France, like many other European countries, was initially sympathetic to the president's anti-terrorism campaign. But there is growing skepticism, particularly concerning the possibility of action against Iraq.

Once again, Mr. Bush emphasized he has no plan on his desk to wage a military operation against Iraq. He noted that Jacques Chirac was the first foreign leader to visit the White House after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and praised his support for the anti-terror effort.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Chirac urged other nations to remain engaged. "We both know that terrorism still exists, that it can be active anywhere at anytime and that therefore all the leaders across the world must pay great attention to this issue and be determined to eradicate terrorism," he said.

The newly re-elected French president then went on to praise the results of the just ended U-S/Russia summit. He also looked ahead to Tuesday, when NATO and Russia will launch a new cooperative arrangement.

"From now on Russia will be more closely involved...and this will be the result of the NATO Council introduced in Rome," he said.

Mr. Bush also looked to the future, saying he will continue consultations with the Europeans on relations with Russia and, in his words, ways to make NATO work better.

As they stood before reporters at the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French President, Mr. Bush acknowledged that the sometimes frantic pace of his European tour is starting to take a toll. He looked tired, and said he was having some trouble adjusting to constant changes in time zones. But he was energized when he talked about his plans for Monday.

The president will go to Normandy to visit the French graves of Americans killed in the decisive invasion that changed the course of World War II. The visit will take place on the American Memorial Day holiday a day on which the nation honors its war dead.

"I am looking forward to giving a speech. Memorial Day in my country is a day to honor those who have sacrificed for freedom, given their lives," he said.

President Chirac said Mr. Bush's decision to spend Memorial Day in Normandy is a strong gesture the French people will never forget.