Index

SLUG: 2-270575 India / Kashmir DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=12/18/00

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-270575

TITLE=INDIA / KASHMIR / S / ONLY

BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE

DATELINE= NEW DELHI

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Separatist political leaders in Indian Kashmir say they support talks

with India over a future political settlement for the disputed region.

V-O-A's Jim Teeple reports the reaction comes several weeks after India

declared a unilateral cease-fire in the region timed to coincide with Muslim

Ramadan observances.

TEXT: All seven leaders of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference - a grouping

of separatist political parties in Indian Kashmir - say they support holding

talks with India to resolve the Kashmir issue.

The seven Hurriyat leaders met in Srinagar to adopt a unified stance, before any talks begin. A statement issued after the meeting made no mention of including Pakistan in talks. In the past, separatist leaders have insisted on Pakistan's inclusion in talks -

something India rejects.

The Hurriyat leaders have welcomed India's cease-fire but separatist

militants have rejected it and have continued to attack Indian security

forces. Sunday, Hizbul Mujahideen - the largest such group - issued a

warning to the Hurriyat leaders saying it will not allow anyone to betray

the separatist cause.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajapayee says India is ready

for talks with the Hurriyat, but that violence and terrorism must

end before India will talk with Pakistan. (Signed)

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