Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, April 28, 2003

Pakistan Proposes Joint Monitoring of LOC by 7 Countries

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri on Sunday urged India to accept joint monitoring of the Line of Control (LOC) by seven countries.


Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri on Sunday urged India to accept joint monitoring of the Line of Control (LOC) by seven countries.

The joint body should consists of Britain, the United States, France, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Kasuri told reporters in Lahore, capital of Punjab, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.

This proposal was put forward after Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee waved an olive branch to Islamabad when he visited India-controlled Kashmir on April 18.

Vajpayee played down his Foreign Minister Sinha's remarks that Pakistan qualifies for a preemptive strike, saying that the door to have dialogue with Pakistan keeps open if it ends its support for "cross-border terrorism" and destroys "terrorist infrastructures."

Pakistan, Kasuri said, has always welcomed the role of the United Nations and other neutral bodies or states to resolve the issue of Kashmir.

"As India is not willing to accept increase in number of UN observers at the LOC, therefore we want to get clear the picture regarding its allegations by engaging some sovereign state or states," he added.

There is always need of a neutral party to judge the facts when one levels allegations and the other denies it, it is the same case with the allegation of "cross-border terrorism" against Pakistan, he maintained.

Kasuri stressed that the Indians should not blame Pakistan for all untoward incidents and happenings in their country, and that they must probe the facts before moving ahead.

Referring to the UN inspection of a Pakistani fertilizer factory earlier this month, Kasuri said that Pakistan is neither preparing any chemical weapons nor does it need so. Therefore, it is not afraid of any examination of its factories by UN chemical inspectors, said the foreign minister.

Kasuri argued that Pakistan is also supporting the inspection because it believes that India is preparing the chemical weapons despite the fact that it has signed UN conventions concerned.

He reiterated Pakistan's stance for resolving mutual differences with India through dialogue and welcomed Vajpayee's latest peace talks offer.

Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali on Sunday also hailed Vajpayee's offer, saying Pakistan will respond to his offer within a few days.

He told reporters in Lahore that his country has always been taking initiatives for negotiations and that it will continue to do so in future.

It is reported that Pakistan is awaiting a formal offer for dialogue from India.

"Pakistan has announced that as soon as the offer is conveyed through diplomatic channels, Islamabad will immediately send a senior official to New Delhi to work out the agenda for the Indo-Pakistan talks," an unnamed official from Pakistani Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

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