Rumsfeld, Armitage to seek end to Pak-Indo tension

Bringing to culmination the diplomacy of persuasion and pressure on Pakistan to end the alleged infiltration into the occupied Kashmir senior US diplomat Richard Armitage is expected here June 6. Next day he would go to New Delhi. "Now it's clear in our minds...that Pakistan needs all it can to end infiltration into Kashmir," said the State Department spokesman, explaining that though President Musharraf has assured the world community that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used by terrorists "those positive statements need to be linked to concrete action". The spokesman's words are almost the same as were uttered in Islamabad early this week by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and then repeated a day later by Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister. "What we are trying to do is coordinated efforts by others in order to reduce tension, avoid armed conflict," the spokesman said. In the meanwhile the Pak-US coalition partnership is likely to get into a real spin as Islamabad Thursday moved some of its troops from the Western border to the Line of Control and other chunks of common border with India. The move is likely to increase the perceptional mismatch between Washington and Islamabad of their respective priorities in terms of national security and campaign against terrorism. The report attributed to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that the al-Qaeda elements have moved from the tribal areas to urban centres in Pakistan also tends to justify the withdrawal of troops from the Afghan border, but apparently this view of the intelligence agency is not being shared by other anti-terrorism coalition members as is indicated by a concentrated deployment of British soldiers on the Pak-Afghan border. Political observers believe that the Pakistani leadership is greatly disappointed with the US-led coalition partners who are not prepared to give any credence to Islamabad's consistent position that it is not involved in any kind of cross-border terrorism in Kashmir. They further said that Pakistan's decision to conduct missile test-firing and the assertive tone of the president's address to the nation and his speeches at various military facilities later on amply reflected the disappointment that Islamabad has begun entertaining about the US and other coalition partners. Armitage's visit may be coincidental to the arrival here of Nancy Powell, the replacement of Ambassador Chamberlin who left here Wednesday. Ms Powell is presently accredited to Ghana as ambassador but State Department spokesman said in Pakistan she would be charge d' affaires of the US embassy.

Safiullah Gul PRAVDA.Ru Pakistan

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