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US, Britain Condemn Kashmir Massacre - 2003-03-27

Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, meeting on the sidelines of the summit between President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair at Camp David, have jointly condemned last Sunday's massacre of civilians in Kashmir. They appealed to Pakistan and India to try to reduce tensions in the region.

The March 23 attack by militants wearing Indian army uniforms killed more than 20 Hindu villagers near Srinagar and raised concerns of another major wave of terrorism in Kashmir.

In their statement, Secretary Powell and Mr. Straw said nothing can justify such a "vicious and cowardly act" and said violence will not solve Kashmir's problems.

They said the United States and Britain stand ready to help India and Pakistan start a process aimed at building confidence, normalizing relations and resolving outstanding differences including Kashmir.

In the meantime, they said the "line of control" in Kashmir should be "strictly respected" and that Pakistan should fulfill its commitments to stop infiltration across it.

They also said Pakistan should "do its utmost" to discourage violence by Kashmir militants and that both South Asian powers should consider an immediate cease-fire and other active steps to reduce tension.