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Richard Boucher Presser in New Delhi, India

Press Availability in New Delhi, India

Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs

New Delhi, India
May 3, 2006

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER: Good afternoon. It was a pleasure to be here to meet with Mr. Karan Singh and first, given his background, I took the opportunity to express our shock and our horror at the massacre that occurred in Kashmir. This is truly a revolting act that I think had the same effect on us as it did on many of you. And we do very much hope that the government can get to the bottom of it, we could figure out who did it, and we could take the appropriate steps to try to keep that sort of thing from recurring. I talked to Mr. Singh a little bit about this and about the situation after the massacre.

Mostly we discussed Nepal where I have just come from today. It's part of the continuing process of U.S-India coordination. I had the opportunity at the Ministry of External Affairs to spend some time as well discussing policy issues involving Nepal. I think I appreciated the chance to come here and talk with one of the real experts and get a better feel for the situation and better understanding of the situation from him. While it is a short stop in India this time, I think we have put it to very good use and I will be glad to take one or two questions then I have to run back to the airport.

QUESTION: Both India and the United States have invited criticism on intervening in the Nepal matter pretty much into the final hours. Do think if something had been done earlier lives could have been saved?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER: I think we have been very concerned about the situation there all along. We had constantly and consistently urged the King to listen to the voice of the people and to allow the political parties to take over. So ever since February 1st of last year we have said that the solution was the restoration of democracy. I think we have in fact spoken out clearly and for a long time and we have continued to be interested. But it was in the end, it was the people on the streets who made the change in the situation. And it was their strong voice that got a restoration of politics in Nepal.

QUESTION: Death of an Indian in Afghanistan by the Taliban? Do you think it's time for the U.S. to declare it a terrorist organization?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER: We have, I think, very much expressed our view about the Taliban. I don't think there's any question but that they represent a threat, both to Pakistan and Afghanistan and to the people who are there, including us, including some of the Indians who are there. The specific sort of legal matter of making them a terrorist organization or not, I really have to leave that to the kind of experts in Washington who go through this stuff. But I don't think there is any question of what our view is of the Taliban.

I've really got to go.

Thank you.

Released on May 3, 2006

ENDS

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