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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 20, 2000


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.