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Stand-off still matter of concern, says Bush

Published Jan 15, 2002 12:00am

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MOLINE, Illinois, Jan 14: US President George W. Bush is monitoring tensions between India and Pakistan and views the stand-off between the nuclear neighbours as being “of concern,” the White House said on Monday.

“The situation remains one of concern, and the President will continue to monitor it and stay fully engaged,” Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters aboard the Air Force One presidential aeroplane. “The US will continue to play a constructive role and to be helpful to the two parties,” said Fleischer.

Those comments came as India ruled out an immediate military de-escalation on its border with rival Pakistan, despite the rounding up of some 1,400 alleged Islamic extremists in a crackdown on five groups banned by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

With fears receding of war erupting between the two nuclear countries, the focus of their dispute switched to a time-frame for an eventual withdrawal of hundreds of thousands of troops deployed on both sides of their border.

Bush telephoned on Sunday both Indian Prime Minister and Pakistan President, who agreed to work together to reduce tensions.—AFP

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