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The BBC's Susannah Price in Islamabad
"Kashmir remains for Pakistan the core issue between the governments"
 real 56k

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Delhi
"The international community has been pressing both India and Pakistan to start talking"
 real 56k

Pakistan foreign minister Abdul Sattar
"The summit meeting will provide an opportunity for dialogue aimed at a permanent settlement"
 real 56k

Senior Indian congress party member Salman Khurshid
"Pressure is coming from the west"
 real 56k

Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Pakistan welcomes India offer
Indian soldiers on patrol
A clash took place hours after the truce ended
Pakistan has responded positively to an Indian invitation to hold talks in Delhi with Pakistan's military ruler, Pervez Musharraf.

At the same time, Islambad has condemned India's move to end its unilateral ceasefire in the disputed region of Kashmir.


A carte blanche to continue state terrorism against the Kashmiri people

Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said the decision would shock those who had welcomed the ceasefire six months ago.

Hours after the end of the truce, Indian soldiers killed six separatist militants in Indian-administered Kashmir.

'Positive spirit'

The Pakistani minister said it was clear that Delhi's ceasefire had been "a sham".

"India has removed even the pretence of restraint and given the Indian armed forces a carte blanche to continue state terrorism against the Kashmiri people," he said.

Abdul Sattar
Abdul Sattar: "Ceasefire was a sham"
But he said that General Musharraf would respond to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's invitation to talks in a positive spirit.

"The summit meeting will provide an opportunity for dialogue aimed at a permanent settlement of the longstanding Kashmir problem," Mr Sattar said.

He added, however, that Pakistan had not yet received any official communication from Delhi on the matter.

Ambush

Earlier, Indian troops laid an ambush for militants said to belong to the Lashkar-e-Toyeba group, at a frontier village late on Wednesday night.

A BBC correspondent added that Indian soldiers were also shelling militant hideouts in Kashmir.

Indian border guard
The border between the two countries has remained quiet
The ceasefire - declared last November - had been condemned by many separatist groups.

But firing between Indian and Pakistani soldiers along the Line of Control - which divides the two armies in Kashmir - did come to a halt.

The move to end the ceasefire is being seen by some as evidence of a tougher line on the Kashmiri militants.

"It is now clear that while the door for talks will remain open, bullets will be answered by bullets," state-run All India Radio said.

Separatists

It has also placed the main Kashmiri separatist alliance - the All Party Hurriyat [Freedom] Conference - in a dilemma.

It plans to convene a meeting of its executive council to frame a response to the proposed summit between Islamabad and Delhi.

The Hurriyat has been pushing for three-way talks between India, Pakistan and the separatists to resolve the issue.

Delhi, however, rejects the tripartite approach and some analysts see the move as part of a new strategy of putting pressure on Pakistan to do a deal with India.

"By inviting Musharraf for talks, the government has killed two birds with one stone," political commentator Manoj Joshi wrote in the Times of India.

"First it has given new lift to its peace initiative in the [Kashmir] valley, and second it has ensured that Pakistan will not go back on its commitment to maintain restraint.

More than 30,000 people have died in Indian-administered Kashmir since the separatist insurgency began in 1989.

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See also:

24 May 01 | South Asia
Press praises Kashmir initiative
24 May 01 | South Asia
Analysis: India seeks breakthrough
23 May 01 | South Asia
Analysis: New Kashmir peace hopes
21 May 01 | South Asia
Massive protest in Kashmir
26 Apr 01 | South Asia
Kashmir separatists snub peace offer
23 Apr 01 | South Asia
Bridging the Kashmir divide
15 May 01 | South Asia
India contacts Kashmir separatist
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