Oleg Artyukov: Colin Powell as a peacemaker

The US Secretary of State has recently visited the countries of Central and South Asia. Colin Powel travelled via Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and India, countries that are widely discussed in the world media (with the exception for Nepal). The goal of the journey is clear: the USA does not want to be refused the role of the main peacemaker in the world. Anyway, America is not really good at the peacemaking thing, especially regarding India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan were assuring Mr.Powell of their desire for peace, saying they were ready to do their best to have peace. Pakistan is especially noticeable for its peace suggestions. President Musharraf started rooting out terrorist groups in his country, which did not mean it was going to be a success: radical Islamic organizations are rather popular in Pakistan. Furthermore, Delhi still does not confide in Islamabad. The terrorists who were involved in the attack on the Indian parliament on December 13 of last year, have not yet been delivered to India, although the majority of them were Indian nationals. Troops are staged along the border between India and Pakistan.

It became known before Colin Powell’s visit to Delhi that India sent another list to Pakistan, a list of the people suspected of acts of terrorism. This time, the list included 132 people. In addition, the official authorities of Delhi stressed that the intense relations between India and Pakistan must be discussed on bilateral ground only, by both countries, and there is no place for a third country. Therefore, the US Secretary of State had rather a difficult task to face.

The United States actually supported India, although in a very careful way. Summing up the results of the negotiations with the Indian premier on January 18, Powell expressed his certainty that India and Pakistan started on the way to resume the bilateral dialogue. However, as he added, Islamabad has to make more resolute measures a the final solution of the conflict. As RIA Novosti informed today, India does not intend to consider the question pertaining to the reduction of its troops on the border with Pakistan until the government of the latter delivers 20 terrorists from the list that had been sent. Therefore, the relations between the countries are still rather tense and the visit of the American senior official has not brought any results yet.

However, the opportunity for a war to break out between India and Pakistan is still small. They both understand that the war is very unlikely to help anyone; still, nobody is going to make concessions. That is why we may say that Colin Powell’s visit was a useful one, but not really effective from the point of view of the efforts of the world community to prevent a new armed conflict between India and Pakistan. We would like to emphasize here the efforts of the international community and not of the USA alone. Maybe Washington is looking forward to gaining fame as the only peacemaker, but it is not likely to succeed. One way or another, it is only India and Pakistan that are supposed to solve the conflict.

Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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