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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
EU wants fresh action on Kashmir
Javier Solana with Yashwant Sinha
Mr Solana's comments would not please Pakistan
The security and foreign policy chief of the European Union, Javier Solana, has asked both India and Pakistan to do more to defuse the tensions over the disputed region of Kashmir which recently brought the two neighbours to the brink of war.


The consensus is that Pakistan could do more

Javier Solana
Speaking during a day-long visit to Delhi where he met several Indian leaders, Mr Solana appeared to place the onus on Pakistan to help permanently end infiltration by Muslim militants across the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir between the rival claimants.

Mr Solana is scheduled to fly to Islamabad where he will meet President Pervez Musharraf and Foreign Minister Inamul Haq to discuss regional security issues.

Mr Solana is the latest in a long series of high-profile foreign diplomats visiting the subcontinent in an effort to reduce tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours who have between them deployed around a million troops along their mutual borders.

Although the danger of war appears to have declined in recent weeks, tension over militant attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir remains high and Mr Solana will be followed to the region by the US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

India and Pakistan both claim ownership of Kashmir and have fought two of their three wars over it since gaining independence in 1947.

Crucial elections

In Delhi, Mr Solana met Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra and junior Foreign Minister Omar Abdullah.

Indian soldier waves at Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir
Kashmir's security situation remains fluid

Later, he told journalists that Indian leaders strongly felt "cross-border terrorism" has not ended, despite President Musharraf's pledge to end infiltration by militants from across the LoC.

"It is true that it has diminished, but it still exists, and I will discuss this with President Musharraf tomorrow," he said.

Mr Solana's comments appeared to endorse the Indian position that Islamabad needed to step up its efforts.

"The consensus is that Pakistan could do more, and that if this does take place and it does do more," he said, "the response of India will no doubt be positive."

He also said Kashmir's state legislative assembly elections, scheduled for October, were important for moving the dispute toward resolution and that these needed to be held "without disruption".

Waiting for Powell

A number of foreign envoys have been making the same point in recent months, saying that infiltration of militants dropped off in the spring but is picking up again, and that Pakistan needed to act on its pledges.

General Pervez Musharraf
President Musharraf is under growing pressure

Correspondents say this diplomatic pressure is not likely to be particularly welcome in Pakistan.

Last week, the British Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, who carried the same message from Delhi, was unable to meet President Musharraf.

Islamabad is conducting a campaign against religious extremists accused of engaging in sectarian violence.

They in turn have threatened the government if it continues its support for the US-led coalition against terror, and blocks Kashmir's "freedom struggle".

Analysts say judging by recent records, Mr Solana is unlikely to receive any assurances in Islamabad except that Pakistan is doing all it can, and a request that India must now be urged to remove troops from the border and begin talks with Pakistan.

They say President Musharraf is likely to wait for Mr Powell to arrive before he makes any further concession in what many Pakistanis see as unfair treatment of Pakistan in its dispute with India.

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