News

DATE=02/25/99 TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP NUMBER=6-11165 TITLE= THE LAHORE SUMMIT: A WELCOME FIRST STEP TO PEACE BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE TELEPHONE=619-3335 DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS CONTENT= INTRO: EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS AROUND THE WORLD ARE GREETING THE LAHORE SUMMIT BETWEEN THE PRIME MINISTERS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN WITH CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM AS A GOOD FIRST STEP TO EASING BILATERAL TENSIONS ON THE SUB CONTINENT. WE GET A SAMPLING NOW FROM ________________ WHO JOINS US WITH THIS WEEK'S WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP. TEXT: LAST MAY, WHEN INDIA DETONATED ITS OWN, HOME-GROWN NUCLEAR BOMB IN THE DESERT, THE EXPLOSION SENT BOTH PSYCHOLOGICAL AS WELL AS PHYSICAL SHOCK WAVES AROUND THE WORLD. IT SIGNALED A GENERALLY UNWANTED EXPANSION OF THE EXCLUSIVE NUCLEAR NATIONS CLUB. TENSION ROSE PALPABLY JUST WEEKS LATER WHEN PAKISTAN FOLLOWED WITH ITS OWN BLASTS, TO ANSWER THE INDIAN DETONATION, AND REMIND NEW DELHI THAT ITS AGE-OLD ENEMY WAS PREPARING FOR A POSSIBLE REGIONAL NUCLEAR WAR. NOW, IN WHAT THE WORLD PRESS IS HAILING AS AN IMPORTANT FIRST STEP TOWARD REDUCING TENSIONS, THE TWO PRIME MINISTERS HAVE MET FOR A WEEKEND OF TALKS IN THE [PUNJABI] PAKISTAN CITY OF LAHORE. IT WAS THE FIRST TRIP TO PAKISTAN BY AN INDIAN PRIME MINISTER IN TEN YEARS, AND NOW THE TWO LEADERS ARE TALKING OF WAYS TO REDUCE TENSIONS AND WARN EACH OTHER OF FUTURE BALLISTIC MISSILE TESTS, AMONG OTHER THINGS. OUR SAMPLING BEGINS IN THE INDIAN CAPITAL, NEW DELHI, WHERE "THE HINDU" NEWSPAPER EXPRESSED ITS HOPES THIS WAY. VOICE: NAWAZ SHARIF AND [PRIME MINISTER] VAJPAYEE HAVE DEMONSTRATED COMMENDABLE DETERMINATION TO TREAD A NEW PATH OF RECONCILIATION AND GOOD NEIGHBORLINESS, DISPLAYING RARE COURAGE TO DEPART FROM SCRIPTS THAT HAD TILL NOW REDUCED THE SCOPE FOR POSITIVE ACTION TO IMPROVE BILATERAL RELATIONS. THE LAHORE DECLARATION... IS INDEED A STEP FORWARD. ... PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IS THE DECISION THAT THE TWO FOREIGN MINISTERS WILL MEET PERIODICALLY TO DISCUSS ISSUES OF MUTUAL CONCERN ... /// OPT /// TEXT: TO BOMBAY NEXT, WHERE "THE INDIAN EXPRESS" ONE OF THE NATION'S LARGEST NATIONAL DAILIES, SAYS FUTURE MEETINGS AGREED TO MAY BE EVEN MORE PRODUCTIVE. VOICE: BUSING TO PAKISTAN HAS TURNED OUT TO BE MORE USEFUL THAN ANYONE COULD HAVE ANTICIPATED IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES ... BY CHIPPING AWAY AT MENTAL BLOCKS, THE PRIME MINISTERS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE STARTED SOMETHING FEW WOULD HAVE THOUGHT POSSIBLE A FEW MONTHS AGO. THERE IS [A] LONG WAY TO GO. ...[HOWEVER] KEEPING UP THE MOMENTUM AND THE CAN-DO SPIRIT IS VERY IMPORTANT. /// END OPT /// TEXT: IN CALCUTTA, THERE WAS LESS OPTIMISM IN "THE STATESMAN." VOICE: THE ONE SPEED-BREAKER [EDITORS: WE CALL THEM "SPEED BUMPS" IN WASHINGTON] ON THE ROAD TO LAHORE WAS KASHMIR. IF THE PRIME MINISTERIAL BUS DIDN'T QUITE BREAK DOWN UPON IT, IT REMINDED EVERYONE, IF ... NECESSARY, THAT THE VALLEY REPRESENTS THE YET UNBRIDGEABLE GULF BETWEEN NEIGHBORS ... TEXT: NOW FOR THE PAKISTANI REACTION, WE CHECK IN WITH "THE NEWS" IN KARACHI, WHICH INTONES: VOICE: IT IS BUT NATURAL TO ASK: WHERE AND WHAT IS THE SUBSTANCE THAT HAS COME OUT OF THE LAST TWO DAYS OF HIGH-PROFILE DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY ... THE IMPRESSION THAT HAS BEEN CREATED IS THAT THE CENTRALITY OF ADDRESSING THE KASHMIR DISPUTE HAS BEEN AT BEST CROWDED-OUT, AND AT WORST LOST, IN THE VERBIAGE ... /// OPT /// TEXT: TO THE SITE OF THE TALKS NOW, WHERE LAHORE'S "JANG" WRITING IN URDU, WAS ALSO HOPEFUL OF A NEW ATTITUDE. VOICE: THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP OF THE TWO COUNTRIES AND MODERATE PUBLIC OPINION HAVE REALIZED THAT THEY HAVE WASTED HALF A CENTURY IN FIGHTING, AND THAT NOW [THEY] WILL HAVE TO CREATE A NEW TRADITION OF FRIENDLY AND NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS ... /// END OPT /// TEXT: HOWEVER, IN ISLAMABAD, "AUSAF" WAS N O T HAVING ANY OF THE RECONCILIATION TALK. VOICE: MAY GOD KEEP OUR PASSION OF HATRED ALIVE. ... WE HOPE ... OUR KASHMIRI BROTHERS WILL BE SATISFIED TO SEE THE PASSION OF PAKISTANIS THAT THEIR PAKISTANI BROTHERS WILL N O T BETRAY THEM. LEADERS OF PAKISTAN MAY WELCOME [THE INDIAN LEADERS] BUT THE PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN ... HAVE N O PLACE IN THEIR HEARTS FOR THE KILLERS OF KASHMIRIS. TEXT: ACROSS THE GLOBE, HOW DID THE SUMMIT LOOK TO THE CANADIANS? "THE TORONTO STAR" WAS MODERATELY HOPEFUL. VOICE: CYNICS WILL BE UNDERWHELMED BY THE INDIA-PAKISTAN THAW, AFTER A TEN-YEAR DIPLOMATIC FREEZE. ... ANYWHERE ELSE THIS [MEETING] WOULD BE BUSINESS-AS-USUAL. ... YET THE LAHORE SUMMIT QUALIFIES AS SIGNIFICANT, IF ONLY BECAUSE INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE NOT DONE BUSINESS IN THE ORDINARY WAY FOR A VERY LONG TIME. TEXT: TURNING TO THE MIDDLE EAST, FROM THE CAPITAL OF DOHA, QATAR, "THE PENINSULA" IS DISAPPOINTED MORE WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED. VOICE: GIVEN THE BROUHAHA, ONE WOULD HAVE EXPECTED AT LEAST A COMMITMENT TO SIGN THE COMPREHENSIVE [NUCLEAR] TEST BAN TREATY BY MUTUAL CONSENT. /// OPT ///... HAVING ACHIEVED PARITY IN NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND MORE RECENTLY ON THE CRICKET PITCH, [PLAYING FIELD] THE ATMOSPHERE WAS FAVORABLE ENOUGH. ... [BUT] /// END OPT /// HISTORY WILL RECORDED THIS LATEST ENCOUNTER AS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY. TEXT: FARTHER EAST, IN TOKYO, ONE OF THE LARGEST DAILIES IN THE WORLD: "ASAHI" ECHOED THE DOHA DAILY, NOTING: VOICE: WE CANNOT HELP HARBORING DISSATISFACTION AND MISGIVINGS ABOUT THE CONTENTS OF THE LAHORE ACCORD, WHICH PRESUPPOSED INDIA AND PAKISTAN POSSESS NUCLEAR ARMS ... THIS BILATERAL ACCORD COULD HARDLY BE SUFFICIENT TO EAST INTERNATIONAL CONCERN OVER NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION. /// OPT /// TEXT: FROM ROMANIA, "ROMANIA LIBERA" IN BUCHAREST, TAKES A VERY DIFFERENT VIEW: VOICE: IN SPITE OF NOT ACHIEVING ANY SPECTACULAR AND IMMEDIATE RESULTS, THE LAHORE DECLARATION CAN BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN ASIA, MARKING A CHANGE IN (INDO-PAK) BILATERAL RELATIONS THAT HAS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PEACE AND SECURITY OF THE REGION ... /// END OPT /// TEXT: AND LASTLY, IN BRITAIN, WHERE THE "TIMES" IN LONDON, TINGES ITS COMMENT WITH CAUTION. VOICE: HOWEVER BROAD THE SMILES OR WARM THE EMBRACE OF THE TWO LEADERS, THEIR PERSONAL COMMITMENT CAN ONLY START THE PROCESS ... MR. VAJPAYEE AND MR. SHARIF MUST PICK IMAGINATIVE AND FLEXIBLE MEN AS THEIR CHIEF NEGOTIATORS. THEY MUST REVISIT THE TALKS TO INSIST ON PROGRESS IF THEIR INITIATIVE IS NOT TO RUN INTO THE SAME SANDS AS THE FOREIGN MINISTERS' DIALOGUE IN 1997. AND THEY MUST PRODUCE RAPID AND VISIBLE BENEFITS OF THE DETENTE THAT CREATE THE CONFIDENCE TO TACKLE THE INTRACTABLE ISSUES. TEXT: WITH THAT, WE CONCLUDE THIS SAMPLING OF WORLD PRESS REACTION TO LAST WEEKEND'S INDIA-PAKISTANI SUMMIT IN LAHORE. NEB/ANG/PT 25-Feb-99 6:46 PM EST (2346 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .