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Musharraf Serious about Ending Terrorism in Kashmir, Says British Official - 2002-05-29


India has stepped up its criticism of Pakistan, saying President Pervez Musharraf has been given enough time to halt the infiltration of Islamic militants into Indian Kashmir. Visiting British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said his country supports India's position on terrorism in Kashmir.

Jack Straw met with India's Prime Minister, Home Minister, Foreign Minister, and top security officials on the final day of his trip to South Asia. He is trying to pull India and Pakistan back from the brink of war.

Briefing reporters with India's Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, Mr. Straw said he believes Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is serious about ending violence in Indian Kashmir. "I believe that President Musharraf is serious, but as I have said earlier the test of all these things has to be action and not just words. There is a crucial imperative upon the leadership and the government of Pakistan to ensure that there is an effective sealing of the line of control and an end to the supplying of the terrorists freedom fighters militants call them what you will, who have been operating in Jammu and Kashmir," Mr. Straw said.

Mr. Straw said the United Kingdom strongly supports India's position on terrorism in Kashmir, noting that recent U.N. resolutions have outlawed the use of terrorist tactics in so-called "freedom or national liberation struggles."

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said he welcomes the United Kingdom's moral support, but his government has run out of patience with Pakistan. "There is already enough time that General Musharraf has had. It is vital that he recognizes the urgency of the situation," Mr. Singh said.

Mr. Singh said there are proposals for monitoring whether infiltration has stopped. He said they would be looked at when "the right climate is re-established."

In a further effort to ease the crisis, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi spoke by telephone with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Mr. Koizumi urged restraint, and Prime Minister Vajpayee responded by saying war should be avoided, but there is a limit to India's patience.

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