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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Pakistan denies Kashmir deadline
Pervez Musharraf (L) and Atal Behari Vajpayee
Musharraf (left) and Vajpayee agreed to talks in January
Pakistan and India have downplayed reports that peace talks are in danger over the Kashmir dispute.

On Wednesday President Pervez Musharraf was reported as saying that he would pull out of talks if a deadline for progress on Kashmir was not met.

But Pakistan's foreign ministry says the reports were inaccurate.

India's deputy Prime Minister, LK Advani, has said there is no danger to the talks as long as both sides stick to their 'roadmap' for peace.

'Need for movement'

President Musharraf spoke about Kashmir during a pre-recorded television interview broadcast on Wednesday night.

In excerpts shown earlier in the day he said: "We have to move forward on Kashmir. We have to resolve it.

Indian troops patrolling along part of the new barbed wire fence in Kashmir
The nations hope the talks will not spark Kashmir violence

"The foreign ministers will meet in July-August. If we don't move forward, I am not in the process," he added.

However, the Pakistani foreign ministry subsequently denied that this amounted to a summer deadline for progress in the talks.

"The president did not use the word 'deadline' at all," foreign office spokesman Masood Khan said.

General Musharraf was underscoring "the need for forward movement and a result oriented dialogue," Mr Khan said.

On the other side of the border, Indian deputy Prime Minister LK Advani also played down any reports of a deadline, saying President Musharraf may have made such comments because of "certain domestic compulsions".

General Musharraf has been accused by opposition members of betraying Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

Mr Advani stressed the need to stick to the agreed path of negotiations between the two countries.

In landmark talks in January, India and Pakistan agreed to discuss their differences over Kashmir.

The two nuclear neighbours have fought two wars over the disputed territory.

In February, Indian and Pakistani officials held their first peace talks in nearly three years.

They agreed on a basic roadmap to resolve all their disputes including Kashmir.

India would like to see movement on all issues including Kashmir, whereas Pakistan argues that Kashmir is the core dispute which overrides all others.

Border action

General Musharraf also said in his television interview that the supporters of the Taleban and al-Qaeda in the border area of south Waziristan would not be handed over to foreign governments if they surrendered.

The Pakistani army has launched an operation against them in the largely tribal frontier that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan.

The army says about 100 people in total have died in fighting in the area.

General Musharraf said the army's offensive there would continue as long as there were foreign elements on Pakistani territory, and the operation was in Pakistan's interests and not the result of US pressure.

The BBC's Paul Anderson
"A president in a hurry to get results"

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