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Pakistan Says Kashmir Border Opening Ready For Business

Indian soldiers erect a tent frame as they prepare for the opening of a border crossing at Titri Note, in Pakistan administered Kashmir, 06 November 2005. Pakistan and India signed a historic accord on 30 October under which quake-battered families in divided Kashmir would be allowed to cross the border on foot for the first time in almost 60 years after the 08 October earthquake that devastated the region. AFP photo by Aamir Qureshi.

Titrinote, Pakistan (AFP) Nov 06, 2005
Pakistan's army said Sunday it had finished preparations for opening the first crossing point on the heavily militarised border in Kashmir that will allow vital aid to flow to victims of last month's massive quake.

"Everything is ready. We could not have done more than this," Brigadier Tahir Naqvi, the officer in charge of Pakistan's side, told AFP ahead of Monday's historic opening.

Indian and Pakistani soldiers using bulldozers worked just a few paces away from each other to prepare the site near the remote Pakistani Kashmir village of Titrinote which faces Chakan Da Bagh in Indian Kashmir.

Pakistani troops set up a gate with the two countries' flags on top, while the soldiers from either side were separated only by the border or Line of Control (LoC), delineated by two white flags and a tree.

"It has all been done in the last five days. It is meant for the passage of relief goods and the passage of passengers," Naqvi said at the Pakistani side's command post.

Pakistan said earlier Sunday it was making final arrangements at five designated crossing points under the historic October 30 agreement to open the border to help earthquake survivors receive assistance. India however has said it is only ready to open one crossing point.

Naqvi said Kashmiris would not able to cross yet because the two countries had not yet exchanged their lists of passengers. He said the army had cleared a minefield in the area as well as building a 2.5-kilometre (1.5 mile) dirt track from the nearest road to the crossing point.

The army has also set up tents with immigration and customs facilities for people coming over the frontier.

"There was a colossal engineering effort for the track. The gate was put up at 8:00 am (0300 GMT) today by us and the Indians have just started putting theirs up," he said.

In April, the two sides allowed the first official opening of the LoC since the late 1940s by starting a fortnightly bus service to reunite families in the Indian and Pakistani zones.

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US Under Pressure To Break Korean Nuclear Stalemate
Washington (AFP) Nov 06, 2005
The United States is under pressure to give some concessions upfront for North Korea to fulfill a pledge to abandon its nuclear weapons program, as multilateral talks enter a crucial phase this week.

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