Russian President Vladimir Putin has successfully managed the Asian conference in Almaty, coming away with a substantial reduction in the tension between India and Pakistan having been achieved through skilful diplomacy, a clear demonstration that the Russian Federation continues to perform an important role and to forge an ever-increasing importance as it takes its rightful place on the stage of world politics.
Although Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and Pakistani President Musharraf have not yet met directly, both have expressed a desire to dialogue before any military action is taken and Pervez Musharraf has accepted an invitation to visit Moscow.
Vladimir Putin declared that “both expressed interest in direct contact…and the most important thing is that they have decided to resolve the Indian-Pakistani question peacefully”.
The Conference on Interaction and Measures of Confidence in Asia, which took place in Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan, terminated with the signing of a document, which states: “The member states will not support any separatist movement in the territory of another member”. Also, “the signatories will unite in their efforts to stop terrorist acts being prepared, aided, launched and financed from the territory of a State and shall refuse to offer protection to and to shelter terrorists”.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee declared that “We are ready to discuss the questions related with Jammu-i-Kashmir, but for this, cross-border terrorism must stop”. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf complained that “India permanently threatens Pakistan with attack and refuses to dialogue” but admitted that “Pakistan favours a denuclearisation of Southern Asia, a non-aggression pact with India and a reduction in levels of armed forces”.
The spectre of nuclear war seems to have disappeared into the mountain mists around Almaty.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign