The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nam nations differ on ‘terrorist’

Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 22: Big Brother US has been crying hoarse about a war on global terror since 9/11 but Non-Aligned Movement nations have yet to agree on who a terrorist is.

Pakistan has so far used its skills to block any agreement on the issue. It has been backed up by many Arab nations, which are apprehensive because the US and its allies have largely been targeting the Islamic world in the name of fighting terror.

India, a victim of Pakistan sponsored terror, has in turn opposed an Islamabad initiative to hold a special Nam convention on terror.

“There is a proposal to hold such a convention. But unless we can agree on the definition of terrorism, what is the point of holding a convention'” Indian foreign minister Yashwant Sinha asked.

But he hoped the issue would be decided soon as there were many countries backing India and wanted the Nam to agree on a definition.

Sinha said the main reason why there had been no agreement was that “certain countries” had tried to create confusion.

“They agree on something, but in the next line they contradict what they have agreed on the line before. This is a clear attempt to create confusion,” he said.

Indications are that in the next few days, negotiations will be stepped up to hammer out an agreement.

But India has made it clear that it is strongly opposed to bringing in “intra-Nam issues” or “conflict resolutions” within the movement. “If we take up these issues, Nam will have little else to do,” Sinha said.

Amid the jockeying on terror, Pakistan made a fresh plea to India to resume talks. Foreign minister K.M. Kasuri said he had sent Delhi another invite to go to Islamabad for the Saarc summit. But he did not mention any new dates.

Indian leaders and senior officials see this as another attempt by Islamabad to turn the forum into an India-Pakistan sideshow.

Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, who is attending the meet, wittily parried a query on whether he would shake hands with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf if they bumped into each other. “I cannot shake legs with him,” Vajpayee said.

But Sinha later said there was no question of resuming talks unless Pakistan addressed India’s security concerns.

“Our position remains the same. Pakistan will have to end cross-border terrorism completely and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure before we can start talking,” he said.

Sinha also made it clear that unless Islamabad fulfils its trade obligations, there was no question of participating at the proposed summit of south Asian nations.

Vajpayee will hold a number of meetings on the sidelines with important leaders in the next two days. These include Zimbabwe Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, Cuba President Fidel Castro and Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

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