- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2002

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf won a pat on the back and $200 million in credit during his visit to Washington this week, but was unable to persuade the United States to intervene in its long-standing territorial conflict with India.

"Musharraf asked for and did not get direct U.S. involvement in Kashmir," said Stephen Cohen, a former U.S. official who recently returned from Pakistan.

Nevertheless, Gen. Musharraf repeated the appeal in a speech to reporters yesterday:

"The only country which can go for mediation and facilitation [on Kashmir] is the United States of America," he told the National Press Club.

President Bush was reluctant to do more than urge the two sides to talk when he met with Gen. Musharraf at the White House on Wednesday. India opposes all outside intervention and wants to resolve the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan directly.

"The only way this issue is going to be solved is if the Pakistani government and the Indian government sit down and have serious, meaningful dialogue to resolve this issue," Mr. Bush said.

Pakistan's $39 billion foreign debt including $3 billion owed to the U.S. government has weakened its economy, and the $200 million credit Mr. Bush has announced helps lessen the burden.

The Bush administration also pledged an undisclosed sum for law enforcement, education and economic development.

U.S.-Pakistani military ties that were suspended over Pakistan's nuclear program were restored partially during the visit.

However, Pakistan did not obtain delivery of F-16 fighters for which it had paid before the imposition of U.S. sanctions.

Close to 1 million Indian and Pakistani troops remain massed along border dividing Kashmir. The crisis began when Pakistani-backed militants attacked India's Parliament building in early December.

Gen. Musharraf has won praise from the United States for cracking down on Islamic extremists since September 11 and backing the United States in the war on terrorism.

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