|SLUG: 2-270575 India / Kashmir||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=INDIA / KASHMIR / S / ONLY
DATELINE= NEW DELHI
INTRO: Separatist political leaders in Indian Kashmir say they support talks
with India over a future political settlement for the disputed region.
V-O-A's Jim Teeple reports the reaction comes several weeks after India
declared a unilateral cease-fire in the region timed to coincide with Muslim
TEXT: All seven leaders of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference - a grouping
of separatist political parties in Indian Kashmir - say they support holding
talks with India to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The seven Hurriyat leaders met in Srinagar to adopt a unified stance, before any talks begin. A statement issued after the meeting made no mention of including Pakistan in talks. In the past, separatist leaders have insisted on Pakistan's inclusion in talks -
something India rejects.
The Hurriyat leaders have welcomed India's cease-fire but separatist
militants have rejected it and have continued to attack Indian security
forces. Sunday, Hizbul Mujahideen - the largest such group - issued a
warning to the Hurriyat leaders saying it will not allow anyone to betray
the separatist cause.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajapayee says India is ready
for talks with the Hurriyat, but that violence and terrorism must
end before India will talk with Pakistan. (Signed)