News

October 14, 1999

PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE PRESIDENT



                              THE WHITE HOUSE
                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                              October 14, 1999

                     PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE PRESIDENT

                               The East Room
2:04 P.M.



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     Q    Given the military coup in Pakistan, are you now more concerned
about the prospect of a war between India and Pakistan, and what can you do
to calm tensions?
     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, obviously, we have been in touch with the
Pakistanis.  We don't like it when military leaders forcibly displace
elected governments, and we made that clear.  We've had our differences
with Pakistan over the years that have been sometimes sharp, we've also had
strong alliances in many areas.  I still believe Prime Minister Sharif did
the right thing to take the Pakistani troops behind the line of control and
defused what could have turned into a war, even an nuclear exchange.  And
so I appreciate that.
     And I would hope that the military government will soon transition to
a civilian one.  And I would hope that nothing would be done at this time
to aggravate tensions between India and Pakistan.  India just had an
election.  Prime Minister Vajpayee has now been returned for another period
of service.  I think they have an opportunity to resume their dialogue and
to de-escalate the tensions.
     Again, let me say to India and Pakistan, do not take yesterday's vote
as a sign that America doesn't care whether you resume nuclear testing and
build up your nuclear arsenals.  We do care.  You shouldn't do it.  It's
not necessary.  It will hurt your economy and endanger your future.  That's
our message to Pakistan and we hope they will move to a civilian government
as quickly as possible.


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                                 END                  3:04 P.M. EDT