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J&K: Musharraf seeks U.S. help

Pullout from certain areas would be a definite step towards meaningful progress

NEW YORK: Hours before his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday sought the U.S. help in persuading India on area-specific troops reduction in Jammu and Kashmir, to move forward in resolving the Kashmir issue.

During a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with President George W. Bush here, Gen. Musharraf said a pullout of troops from certain areas in Jammu and Kashmir — later identified by Ambassador Jahangir Karamat as Baramula and Kupwara — would be a definite step towards meaningful progress on the Kashmir problem.

Mr. Bush met Gen. Musharraf before a reception he hosted for world leaders here to attend the U.N. General Assembly, marking its 60th anniversary.

Gen. Musharraf said if there was no Indian reciprocity on the key Kashmir issue all other confidence-building measures would lose their meaning.

``The proposal is a message for India and the United States as well,'' Gen. Karamat said in reply to a question.. On Afghanistan, Gen. Musharraf reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to peace and stability in that country, especially during the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Gen. Musharraf equated the Palestine problem with the Kashmir issue in an effort to internationalise the issue.

He was speaking on Tuesday at the Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace meet, where a number of world leaders were present.

President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines hosted the event. — PTI, UNI

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