Annan welcomes steps by India and Pakistan to ease tensions, improve relations

Annan welcomes steps by India and Pakistan to ease tensions, improve relations

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today warmly welcomed the series of reciprocal steps India and Pakistan have recently taken to ease tensions and improve bilateral relations.

"He hopes that these steps, starting with Prime Minister Vajpayee's statement on 18 April and Pakistan's positive response, will lead to the strengthening of peace and stability in the entire South Asian region," said a statement issued in New York by a spokesman for Mr. Annan.

"The Secretary-General also hopes that the normalization of diplomatic relations and restoration of rail, road and air links, as well as other confidence-building measures being introduced by the two sides, will lead to the resumption of a sustained dialogue," the statement added. "He looks forward to the peaceful resolution of the differences between India and Pakistan, including over Kashmir."