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Sunday, 13 January, 2002, 16:50 GMT
Bush urges Pakistan-India dialogue
US President George W Bush
Bush spoke to leaders of both countries
US President George W Bush has spoken to the leaders of India and Pakistan, urging them to work to reduce tensions between the two countries.

In a telephone conversation, he thanked President Pervez Musharraf for his speech on Saturday, in which the Pakistani leader pledged to curb Islamic extremism.

White House officials say he discussed the speech in a separate call to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vaypajee.

Both leaders "agreed to continue to work to reduce tension in the region," said spokesman Sean McCormack.

India's guarded praise

India on Sunday welcomed the crackdown announced by President Musharraf, but said it is awaiting "concrete action" to stop cross-border "terrorism".

"We welcome the now declared commitment (by Pakistan) not to support or permit any more the use of its territory for terrorism anywhere in the world, including in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir," said Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh.

New measures
Two Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups banned
Two hardline religious groups banned
Mosques banned from making political messages
Religious schools to be registered
He told a news conference in Delhi that India "lauded" Islamabad's ban on the militant groups Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, which India blames for an attack on its parliament last month.

Pakistani police on Sunday sealed the offices of sectarian and Kashmiri militant organisations, detaining many activists - a day after rounding up hundreds of other suspected militants.

Mr Singh stressed that India remained committed to bilateral dialogue with Pakistan, but "rejects entirely the content of the Pakistani president's speech on the situation in Kashmir".

General Musharraf had made clear that Pakistan would maintain "moral and diplomatic" support for Kashmir self-determination.

India's foreign minister again ruled out any third-party mediation in the dispute.

"The lessening of tensions on the border is entirely dependent on the steps taken inside Pakistan to operationalise what was stated by President Musharraf.

"We have to go not by the stated intent, but by action on the ground," Mr Singh said.

Kashmir tensions

In recent weeks the two nuclear neighbours have gone to the brink of war in disputed Kashmir, moving troop reinforcements up to their common border.

Madrassah in Lahore
Musharraf said religious schools should be reformed
Mr Singh said India was "disappointed" that Pakistan was not handing over suspects wanted by Delhi for past "terrorist" attacks.

In a televised address to the nation on Saturday, General Musharraf announced a series of measures to curb militants.

They include a ban on five groups - among them two Kashmiri separatist organisations blamed by India for the 13 December attack on the Delhi parliament.

The BBC's Adam Mynott in Delhi says India feels it has international opinion firmly behind it after the attack and will continue putting firm pressure on Pakistan.

Western praise

The United States has led Western praise for Mr Musharraf's speech.


The United States welcomes President Musharraf's explicit statements against terrorism and particularly notes his pledge that Pakistan will not tolerate terrorism under any pretext

Colin Powell

In his first reaction, Mr Bush welcomed what he saw as the Pakistani leader's firm decision to stand against terrorism and extremism.

And the American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who is about to visit South Asia, said the speech provided the basis for resolving tensions with India through diplomatic means.

Spain, which currently holds the European Union presidency, also welcomed General Musharraf's speech.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott
"India wants action not words"
Indian Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh
"We would assess the effectiveness of (Pakistan's) commitment only by concrete actions"
Muhammed Ziauddin, Dawn newspaper, Islamabad
"The response from India has been very positive"
See also:

12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Pakistan to regulate religious schools
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Analysis: Musharraf's gamble
12 Jan 02 | UK Politics
UK praises 'courageous' Musharraf
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Musharraf speech highlights
07 Jan 02 | South Asia
Analysis: Musharraf on a tightrope
04 Jan 02 | Americas
Powell urges Pakistan to do more
07 Jan 02 | South Asia
War moves spread fear on border
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