|SLUG: 2-269856 India-Kashmir-U-S (L)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=INDIA / U-S / KASHMIR CEASE-FIRE (L-O)
INTRO: A senior U-S official visiting India is calling for Pakistan and separatist militant groups in Indian Kashmir to respect India's unilateral cease-fire declaration in Kashmir. Correspondent Jim Teeple reports suspected gunmen killed a paramilitary soldier in Kashmir but Indian authorities say violence has tapered off in recent days as the cease-fire has gone into effect.
TEXT: Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth has been holding lengthy meetings with senior Indian officials during the past two-days covering a wide range of issues. Diplomats say at the top of the agenda has been India's surprise unilateral cease-fire declaration by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee timed to coincide with Muslim Ramadan observances.
Following a meeting with India's foreign secretary on Thursday - Secretary Inderfurth called for Pakistan and separatist militants in Kashmir to join the ceasefire.
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We would hope that the government of Pakistan would look very closely as their initial statement said they would that they would watch the developments there (Kashmir) very carefully. We hope that they are doing that - and we hope that the groups in Kashmir itself will also respond appropriately. This (cease-fire) is something that we applaud as an initiative and we hope that it will go well.
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Mr. Inderfurth also says the United States will work closely with India on a proposed U-N resolution that would impose an arms embargo on Taleban forces in Afghanistan. The measure would tighten U-N sanctions against the Taleban - for their refusal to cooperate in efforts to bring to trial accused terrorist Osama bin Laden - the alleged mastermind of several terrorist attacks against U-S embassies and military bases.
Indian officials say they strongly support tightening sanctions against the Taleban - who they accuse of involvement in the insurgency in their state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Separatist militants in Kashmir have rejected the Indian truce, and authorities in the troubled state began moving hundreds of migrant Hindu workers to safe-areas. Many of the workers who travel to Jammu and Kashmir from some of India's poorest regions work in hazardous conditions near the line of control, and separatist militants frequently target them.
Authorities in the state say despite several attacks in recent days there has actually been less violence in Kashmir than usual. Indian commanders say their troops will not conduct offensive operations against the separatist militants, but will respond with force if attacked. (SIGNED)