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STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT: Announcements by India and Pakistan Aimed at Reducing Tensions in Kashmir

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                   December 20, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     I welcome today?s announcements by both India and Pakistan aimed at
reducing tensions in Kashmir.  The decision by Prime Minister Vajpayee that
India will continue the ceasefire it initiated last month in Kashmir is an
important step forward.   In the meetings we held earlier this year, the
Prime Minister told me of his determination to pursue a course of peace in
Kashmir.  I applaud today?s announcement as a sign of his continuing
commitment to that course.    This initiative, along with Pakistan?s
announcement today that it will withdraw part of its forces deployed along
the Line of Control and its earlier decision to exercise maximum restraint
there, raises the hopes of the world community that peace is possible in
Kashmir.  To achieve that end, I continue to believe that all parties
should reject violence and work for a peaceful resolution of the conflict
through dialogue.


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