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Armitage Discusses Cross-Border Tensions With Musharraf - 2002-06-06


A top U.S. official says Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has given assurances he wants to avoid war with India. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is in Islamabad, on a mission aimed at defusing tensions between India and Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters after his extensive discussions with President Musharraf, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said the Pakistani leader has told him he has stopped cross-border infiltration of militants into Kashmir. "The President of Pakistan has made it very clear that nothing is happening across the Line of Control [cease-fire line in Kashmir]," he said. "We are looking for that to hold over the longer run."

India accuses Pakistan of sending militants across the disputed border in Kashmir to join an anti-India movement in the region. New Delhi says it will de-escalate tensions and resume dialogue after Pakistan stops such activities.

Mr. Armitage says he also discussed with President Musharraf how to monitor infiltration of Islamic militants from Pakistan across the Kashmir border. "President Musharraf made it very clear to me that he wants to do everything which he can to avoid war, and I think that is a very good basis on which to proceed," he said.

Mr. Armitage says the Pakistani leader has also promised not to initiate war with India. "President Musharraf has made it very clear that he is searching for peace," said Richard Armitage. "That he would not be the one to initiate war and I will be looking hopefully for the same type of assurances tomorrow in Delhi."

The Deputy Secretary of State travels Friday to India. His visit to the region follows President Bush's appeal to Pakistani and Indian leaders to step back from the brink of war.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld plans to visit Islamabad and New Delhi next week to continue the peace efforts.

Both Pakistan and India have deployed hundreds of thousands of soldiers along their border. Daily clashes between the two armies have killed scores of people in the past three weeks.

The United States and Britain have strongly urged their citizens to leave India and Pakistan. They say the current situation in South Asia is dangerous.

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