Saturday, Jul 13, 2002
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By Sridhar Krishnaswami
"It's still a tense situation and we want to see, of course, issues are resolved through dialogue, peacefully. And our engagement with both Governments is part of that, part of diplomacy," the State Department's deputy spokesman, Philip Reeker, said here.
"We will continue to stress the need for a dialogue and peaceful resolution of issues when Gen. Powell meets in those capitals," Mr. Reeker said "....The Secretary of State wants to take the opportunity to continue our engagement with both the Governments (India, Pakistan).''
Confirmed dates have been fixed for Gen. Powell's trip to India and Pakistan. This trip will be a part of the Secretary of State's travel to South-East Asia where he will be attending the ASEAN Regional Forum Meeting in Brunei. The expectation, according to Mr. Reeker, is that Gen. Powell will be visiting the subcontinent on his way to the ARK Meeting.
"We have strong bilateral relationships with both countries, a lot of things to talk about, as well as regional issues and to continue seeing a lessening of tensions between India and Pakistan, where there still...remain a number of soldiers along the Line of control, along the borders," Mr. Reeker added.
Gen. Powell, earlier this week, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Washington was "anxious'' to see a dialogue resume between India and Pakistan on a solution to the Kashmir problem. He further maintained that the Bush administration wanted a good relationship with the countries in economic, trade and military aspects.
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