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The BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Islamabad
"Low-key welcome"
 real 28k

The BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad
"Mr Clinton said there were real obstacles in the way of Pakistan's progress"
 real 28k

Saturday, 25 March, 2000, 20:58 GMT
Pakistan firm on US demands

A family watch President Clinton's TV address in Islamabad
US President Bill Clinton is reported to have won little ground in his talks with Pakistan's military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

A senior administration official said the general gave no quarter on what US officials regard as the key issues:

  • the timetable for a return to civilian democracy
  • rolling back Pakistan's nuclear programme
  • the Kashmir dispute.

General Musharraf, however, said "there was no deadlock".

He announced after Mr Clinton's departure that Pakistan was ready to restart the talks with India, which were frozen after last year's clashes along the line of control in Kashmir.



The answer to flawed democracy is not to end democracy but to improve it

Bill Clinton
But his stated desire for US participation in talks on Kashmir is unlikely to be acceptable to India, which has always rejected outside mediation.

BBC South Asia correspondent Mike Wooldridge says there was some sign of movement on Osama Bin Laden, the Islamic militant in Afghanistan wanted by the US.

General Musharraf said he would try to raise the Americans' concern over the issue with the Taleban authorities.

Mr Clinton kept his visit short in order not to appear to be endorsing General Musharraf's bloodless coup in October.


General Musharraf
General Musharraf heard hard words about US concerns
He is now on his way to Geneva for talks with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad on Sunday.

After his two-hour talks with General Musharraf, he told the Pakistani people the country needed to return to democracy if it was to progress.

In a nationwide television address, he said democracy could not develop if it was constantly uprooted.

"Clearly the absence of democracy makes it harder, not easier, for people to move ahead," Mr Clinton said.

'Stark truth'

In his address, Mr Clinton said: "We share your disappointment that previous democratic governments in Pakistan did not do better for its citizens."

He called on the Musharraf government to help create the conditions that would allow dialogue with India to succeed.


Security men
Security was tight in Islamabad
He also appealed to Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and said that nuclear weapons were a "tragic waste" blocking economic development in the region.

And he said Pakistan must face the stark truth about Kashmir.

"There is no military solution to Kashmir," he said.

"No matter how great the grievance it is wrong to support attacks against civilians across the Line of Control.

"We cannot and will not mediate or resolve the dispute in Kashmir. Only you and India can do that through dialogue."

Decoy jet

Mr Clinton arrived in Islamabad amid unprecedented security for the five-hour visit on the final leg of his South Asian tour.


Delhi protest
A protest in Delhi against Mr Clinton's visit to Pakistan
An executive jet with presidential markings arrived first as a decoy and was followed by an identical unmarked plane carrying the US leader.

An estimated 5,000 soldiers and thousands of police were deployed to check President Clinton's route for explosives or other security risks.

It was the first US presidential trip to Pakistan since Richard Nixon in 1969.

Kashmir violence

A few hours before President Clinton's arrival, Indian troops shelled villages in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, killing three civilians, local officials said.

The Indian army denied it had opened fire on the area.

For their part, the authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir said they had captured one man and killed five others involved in the recent massacre of 36 Sikhs in a village near Srinagar.

The military Line of Control divides Kashmir between the two countries, which have fought two of their three wars over the region.

In a separate incident on Saturday, at least two people were killed and six injured when a bomb exploded in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

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Clinton in South Asia
Click here for a guide to President Clinton's tour
Key stories:
What did the trip achieve?
Protecting the president
South Asia's nuclear race
Clinton and the Kashmir question
Economic ties:
Americans eye South Asia
India's high-tech hopes
Features:
Village gets makeover
Story in pictures
Talking Point

 Kashmir: Should Clinton mediate?

South Asia Contents

Country profiles
See also:

23 Mar 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Waiting for democracy
23 Mar 00 | South Asia
Musharraf to 'announce elections'
23 Mar 00 | South Asia
In pictures: Clinton in India
23 Mar 00 | Media reports
Clinton charms the press
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