India refuses mediation of Putin

India has declared that Prime Minister Vajpayee will not meet directly with any representative of Pakistan in the regional peace talks in Almaty, where President Vladimir Putin arrives tonight to broker a peace deal, at the request of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

India has ruled out the possibility of any direct peace negotiations with representatives from Pakistan, be these secret or otherwise, until Pakistan makes a “significant” clamp-down on terrorist organisations operating in Kashmir. The Indian Ambassador in Kazakhstan, Vidya Sagar Verma, declared that “There will not be any meeting or secret contacts at any level”, while Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee confirmed that he had “no plans” to meet Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistan, on the other hand, expressed hope in making progress in peace negotiations with India during the peace conference in Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan, although he stated that he knew “nothing” about a possible deal brokered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Kofi Annan has requested the Russian and Chinese leaders to “do all they can” to convince India and Pakistan to refrain from entering a war, which, if nuclear weapons are used, will affect millions of people in the region, in a swathe of radioactive fall-out which could spread across the Middle East as far as Turkey.

The effects of radioactive fall-out will depend on the winds. If a nuclear exchange were to take place in the coming two weeks, the winds would blow the radioactive cloud across India. However, if the exchange took place after the second week of June, the cloud would move across Pakistan., over Central Asia and possibly as far as Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.


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