29th July 2001
President Musharraf has addressed a letter to Vajpayee, formally inviting him to visit Pakistan, it said adding that "the letter is reported to have been delivered by the High Commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi."
Musharraf extended an invitation to Vajpayee during their July 14-16 summit meeting in the Taj Mahal town of Agra, which was accepted by the Indian prime minister.
Reiterating the invitation, "the president hoped that it will be possible for Mr. Vajpayee to visit Pakistan sooner (rather) than later," the statement said.
Musharraf also thanked Vajpayee for the "hospitality extended" to him, his wife and the Pakistani delegation during their three-day visit to India.
Pakistan and India, locked in a dispute over the northern Himalayan state of Kashmir, failed to issue a joint statement at the conclusion of the historic talks, their first after a two-year freeze in official contacts between the rival nuclear neighbours.
The two countries could not sign any formal declaration in Agra "but in their subsequent public pronouncements, both Pakistan and India have emphasized their commitment to continue with the process of dialogue including summit level talks to consider resolution of the Kashmir and other problems that have prevented normalization of relations" between the two countries, it said.
The sticking point at Agra was Pakistan's insistence that the normalisation of ties be linked to progress on the question of Kashmir, divided between the two countries and claimed by both.
India wants other issues to be discussed ahead of Kashmir, but Pakistan insists it is the "core problem" which must be tackled in tandem with others, such as nuclear safeguards and trade.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar has separately invited his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh to visit Islamabad.
Singh received Sattar's invitation a few days ago, Indian foreign ministry
spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said.
Wahid flew to Dulles International Airport from London, and was expected to continue directly to Baltimore, where he was to be admitted to Johns Hopkins University Hospital, according to Indonesian embassy officials.
Hospital officials refused to confirm whether he had checked into the hospital or what kind of treatment he was to receive. The former Indonesian president is clinically blind, has suffered two strokes and is a diabetic.
No VIP treatment was extended to the former president as he and his wife were moved through US Customs in wheelchairs. Asked by reporters how he felt after his removal from office on Monday, Wahid responded: "I'm not sad."
He said he planned a five-day hospital stay.
Before leaving Jakarta on Thursday, Wahid promised his supporters not
to abandon politics and vowed to come home to fight the hard-line military
figures he says conspired to force him out of power.
By Duncan Campbell in Los AngelesThe United States will not attend next month's United Nations conference on racism if the agenda includes items on Zionism and reparation for slavery.
The US position was communicated to senior diplomats in Washington yesterday and will be discussed in Geneva on Monday at a meeting likely to determine whether the US will be present at the largest international conference on race ever organised.
The absence of the US would considerably weaken any resolutions to emerge from the eight-day summit.
The two sticking points represent highly sensitive issues within America. Yesterday, Marc Grossman, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, and undersecretary of state Paula Dobriansky told a group of ambassadors and senior diplomats they did not believe the two items should be on the conference agenda.
A state department official told the Guardian that the diplomats had been invited so that everyone would understand the US position. The sticking points, according to the official, concern existing references to Zionism and the issue of reparation for slavery.
He said language in the agenda that "accuses Israel of crimes against humanity and of a new form of apartheid" was unacceptable.
On the issue of slavery reparation, the official said: "Our country would be open and honest about the past but reparation is a different matter."
He said that while the US accepted slavery had been to nobody's credit, it was a trade that many countries had engaged in and it would be impossible to attribute blame now. The US wanted a "forward-looking conference" dealing with current problems and ways to combat racism, he said. He stressed that the US still intended to go to the conference and hoped that the issues could be resolved.
Planners will hammer out the wording of the agenda at Monday's meeting in Geneva.
The agenda talks are due to last two weeks, at the end of which the US would make its final decision on participation.
The summit, titled the UN conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, will be attended by heads of state. It has been promoted as the most influential international assembly to deal with racism and will take place on August 31 in Durban, South Africa. Around 10,000 delegates are expected to attend.
Mary Robinson, the UN high commissioner for human rights who is the main organiser of the conference, said yesterday: "If there is an attempt to revive the idea of Zionism as racism we will not have a successful conference. It is not appropriate to reopen the question of Zionism and racism. It would produce a very deep sense of dismay."
— The Guardian
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