Pakistan President Urges Indian PM to Resume Dialogue

Published October 8th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf called Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Monday and urged a swift resumption of the dialogue begun at their landmark leadership summit in July. 

He invited Vajpayee and Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh to visit Pakistan "sooner rather than later," saying it was time for the two sides to tone down their hostile rhetoric, a Pakistani government spokesman said. 

"He also told the Indian prime minister that the two countries must look at the root causes of tension in their region and, in this context, resolve the Kashmir dispute," the spokesman said. 

The July leadership summit in the Indian Taj Mahal town of Agra had broken down over the issue of Kashmir, which has sparked two of the three wars between the South Asian rivals since 1947. 

During the summit Vajpayee and Singh both accepted invitations to visit Pakistan later in the year. 

Sounding a conciliatory note, Musharraf expressed his condolences for the death of 38 people in a massive car bomb explosion in Indian Kashmir on October 1. 

"The president said he condemned terrorism in all its forms," the spokesman said. 

The conversation between the two leaders was the first since the September 11 terror attacks in the United States. 

In the wake of the attacks, Pakistan was angered by what it saw as India's attempts to extend the international war on terrorism to New Delhi's struggle with Muslim militancy in divided Kashmir. 

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the Kashmir insurgency, which has claimed more than 35,000 lives since 1989. 

Islamabad denies the charge, but extends open moral and diplomatic support to what it views as the Kashmiris' justified struggle for self-determination -- ISLAMABAD (AFP)

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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