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February 15, 2002
0950 IST

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America rules out intervention
on Kashmir

T V Parasuram in Washington

The United States has ruled out mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue two days after President George Bush and his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf expressed hope of 'facilitating a meaningful dialogue' between New Delhi and Islamabad.

"The US is always prepared to help in any way but we don't believe this is something that mediation or facilitation is going to help," American National Security Adviser Condoleesza Rice said.

"What will help is to have the two parties [India and Pakistan] decide it is time for dialogue, and we are encouraging that," she said Thursday, while briefing on Bush's schedule in Japan, South Korea and China.

President Bush had said at a joint appearance with President Musharraf that "our hope is that we can facilitate meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan... the best thing our government can do is to encourage [India and Pakistan] to come to the table and start to have meaningful, real dialogue. And that is what we will continue to press for."

Three hours earlier, Musharraf, in a National Press Club speech had accused India of 'insincerity' in bilateral dialogue and sought US mediation and facilitation. He had also called for US mediation.

Rice also firmly rejected Musharraf's contention there was no evidence that the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament was carried out by terrorists.

"The problem we encountered with the [attack on] the Indian Parliament was that a democracy, a similar democracy, was attacked in India [and it] showed to everybody that terrorism was a threat in this case not just to India but it was also a threat to a stable and secular Pakistan," she said.

Asked whether Bush would talk to Chinese President Jiang Zemin about the situation in South Asia, she said, "we will talk about all regions when we talk to a global power like China."

She said that Bush would discuss regional stability with the Chinese leader. "We don't see Pakistan or India as objects of discussion with any other country," she added.

"But we do see a number of countries that are concerned about stability in South Asia that want to try to help to encourage dialogue, that want to avoid the kinds of tensions we had in South Asia in recent months, and we believe that is an interest that the Chinese share. Of course we will want to discuss that," Rice said.

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