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Rediff.com  » News » EU troika team leaves for J&K

EU troika team leaves for J&K

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October 17, 2005 17:42 IST

A European Union troika fact-finding teamĀ left on Monday on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, promising to consider any request for providing further assistance for earthquake-affected areas.

The three-member team, comprising British High Commissioner Michael Arthur, Ambassador of the European Commission Francisco da Camara Gomes and Austrian Ambassador Jutta Stefan-Basti will visit Ladakh for the first time.

"We are visiting Kashmir at a time when the region has been devastated by a horrific natural tragedy and our sympathy goes to all those on both sides of the Line of Control who have lost their friends and loved ones," Arthur said.

"Nature does not recognise man-made borders and we hope that in these tragic circumstances, humanitarian cooperation across the region can continue to grow," he said.

The EU troika is a group that represents the European Commission and the current and future Presidencies of the European Council, on behalf of the European Union as a whole.

Arthur said the EU has provided 'humanitarian assistance to the affected region and will consider any request for further assistance'.

Condemning the recent attacks by militants in J&K, he said, "There is never a justification for violence of this kind and it seems particularly despicable to attack people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of a natural disaster. The people of Kashmir have the right to live their lives in peace and dignity."

Observing that the EU welcomed all positive moves in favour of peace, Arthur said, "We hope that further infrastructure links and increased people to people contacts will support the political process between India and Pakistan and improve the quality of people's lives in Kashmir."

He said, during the visit, the delegation will renew contacts with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and meeting representatives from different political groups, academic community, students, NGOs and business groups.

Complete coverage: Tremors across borders

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