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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Straw says Musharraf talks 'constructive'
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar (left) with Jack Straw in Islamabad
Jack Straw has already met Pakistan's foreign minister

Jack Straw has pressed Pakistan's President Musharraf to match words with deeds by cracking down on terrorism as part of efforts to resolve the deepening crisis over Kashmir.

The Foreign Secretary spent 75 minutes talking to the Pakistan president and pointedly described the meeting in Islamabad as "constructive and forthright".
There are plain limits to what the international community can do - but that does not mean that we should not try to do our best to avert war

Jack Straw

Mr Straw said he told President Musharraf that it was "imperative" that all member states of the United Nations take action against all forms of terrorism.

He said President Musharraf was "under no doubt about the expectations of the international community" that he should be building on the action already taken against cross-border terrorism.

'Senseless conflict'

Mr Straw said: "My talks with President Musharraf were constructive and forthright.

"We have to live in hope in this situation.

"I do not believe that either side actually wants a war but it is one of those desperately complex and bitter disputes in which a war can nonetheless take place."

But he added: "Whatever the history, this dispute can only be resolved by a process of dialogue.

"It can not be solved by what would be a senseless conflict."

Mr Straw would not divulge full details of what he said was a "confidential" meeting with President Musharraf.

The Foreign Secretary has arrived in India on the final leg of his peace mission to the region.

'Better understanding'

Speaking earlier to reporters after his meeting with President Musharraf, Mr Straw stressed the Kashmir crisis was a "bilateral dispute of long-standing bitterness".

"The risks are obvious and considerable.

Kashmiri militant
Pakistan denies backing Kashmiri militants
"There are plain limits to what the international community can do.

"But that does not mean that we should not try to do our best to avert war."

The Foreign Secretary said he was not taking a specific message to the Indian leaders.

"I have come here (to Pakistan) to secure a better understanding of Pakistan's position.

"And I am going to India to secure a better understanding of the Indian community's concerns," he said.

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