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EU criticises Pak's stand on LoC fencing

Press Trust of India

Posted: Dec 16, 2003 at 1545 hrs IST

In a major rebuff to Pakistan's criticism of fencing by India along the border, the European Union has said New Delhi was within its right to take "technical" measures to control "terrorist infiltration" as the LoC was delineated by Simla accord.

"In Kashmir, although a final solution to the dispute is pending, the Line of Control has been delineated in accordance with the 1972 Simla agreement signed by India and Pakistan", EU's Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana said to the Pakistan daily The News in an interview from Brussels.

Solana virtually defended the fencing as a measure to curb infiltration and declined to equate it with the wall being constructed to separate Jews and Palestinian areas in Gaza by Israel. "I think that we should not mix issues that do not follow the same logic", Solana said. EU sees the Indian fencing along the LoC in the context of "improvement in technical means to control terrorists infiltration." EU stance followed as section of Pakistan media made LoC fencing a major campaign during the past few weeks, even though Pakistan government did not refer to it while declaring a unilateral ceasefire, which came into effect from November 26.

In the midst of concerted campaign against fencing, Pakistan chose to lodge a "demarche" to India, protesting against its construction barely three days ago, even though fencing was under construction for over a year.

Solana welcomed the ceasefire and mutual confidence building measures taken by both India and Pakistan to normalise relations. "The EU has welcomed Pakistan's declaration of unilateral ceasefire, which was met by reciprocal Indian response," he added.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf while expressing his opposition to the construction of the fence said that it was being erected five kms deep within the Indian territory. It cannot be even seen from Pakistan positions, he said.

Reacting to Pakistan's protests, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said, India would convey its views in this regard to Pakistan.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, Masood Khan on Monday reiterated his country's stand that fencing was violation of UN resolutions and bilateral agreements and these agreements are not open for negotiations.

He told media briefing on Monday that besides directly conveying its objections to India, Pakistan has also taken up the issue with the international community.

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