My Newz 'n Ideas

It is my intent to express my opinion and to discuss current events. Feel free to make suggestions to fields you would like to see covered, and I will consider them. Please leave your name with comments. Thank you. Arabic: عربي.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Reference for Nickerbokker News

This is a story by the Daily News in English from Pakistan. I find it very encouraging. One wonders why it is not headlining all the "main stream" papers of note. When it was hot (almost at war,) there were stories about Pakistan and India everyday. Now that there may be steps toward peace, silence. For shame on them.

"Shaukat Aziz sees no breakthrough during current visit to India
* Says Kashmir solution will come ‘step-by-step’ * Pakistan and Maldives agree to boost tradeCOLOMBO: A cut in troops by India in Kashmir has helped reduce tension, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Monday, but added he did not expect this to lead to a major breakthrough in talks with Indian leaders this week.

In Colombo ahead of his first official visit to India, Mr Aziz told Reuters he was encouraged by progress in talks with India over the Kashmir issue, but said any permanent solution was likely some way off.

“I think the fact that India has started to reduce its troops is welcome. We hope that this process will continue, particularly in the urban areas,” Mr Aziz said.

He said he did not expect a major breakthrough in talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. “Pakistan’s stand is very consistent. We don’t change our stand every time we take a trip to a country,” he said. “This is part of a process. I don’t think we are looking at one trip to change everything, but I think it’s a step-by-step process.”

“We have to move our discussions between India and Pakistan from strictly the tactical level to the strategic level, and that’s
how we can look at solutions which will find a sustainable end result,” he said.

He said Pakistan had seen no evidence of cross-border incursions by militants from Azad Kashmir into Indian-controlled Kashmir. “We are not aware of any such activities. If they are seeing it, that is really their perception of what is going on.”

Responding to India’s warning last week that new American arms sales to Pakistan could hurt the peace dialogue, Mr Aziz said arms were vital to hopes of peace. “If we want to promote sustainable peace, then every country should have the right to acquire weapons for their own defence,” he said.

“Sometimes the various stakeholders may make statements which could create some turbulence, but I think deep down the atmospherics are right,” he added.

Mr Aziz held extensive talks with Ms Kumaratunga and Prime
Minister Mahinda Rajapakse shortly after arriving in Sri Lanka on a brief overnight visit on Sunday.

The prime minister also said South Asia was a long way from launching a common currency, but regional central banks could adopt currency swaps to encourage new investment.

Mr Aziz later arrived in the Maldives and held talks with President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. They agreed to boost trade, tourism, cultural and people-to-people contacts. At a later banquet, he offered credit facilities, scholarships, science and technology collaboration, and to train civil servants and security personnel of the Maldives."