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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush, Putin Face Crisis as Partners

ST. PETERSBURG -- U.S. President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin jointly stepped into the India-Pakistan crisis Saturday.

Bush urged Pakistan's president to "stop the incursions'' of Islamic insurgents into Indian-administered Kashmir, while Putin deplored Pakistan's decision to conduct new nuclear tests.

"We're deeply concerned about the rhetoric,'' Bush said. " It is very important for President Musharraf to stop -- do what he said he's going to do in his speech on terror, and that is stop the incursions across the line of control.''

Putin said that he would attend a regional conference in Kazakhstan on June 3 where he hoped to meet with Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. An Indian spokeswoman confirmed Sunday that Vajpayee would attend the summit and might meet Putin. She could not comment on plans to talk with Musharraf.

It is seen as the natural opportunity to bring the Indian and Pakistani leaders together when a separate meeting seems politically impossible for the two men.

"The testing, while there is escalating tension, really aggravates the situation,'' Putin said in words that he clearly had coordinated with Bush. "We shall be working together to take steps in order to prevent the escalation of the conflict.''

Bush and Putin clearly reveled in showing that they are working together on a major international crisis in which the two countries would have taken opposite sides during the Cold War.

(NYT, Reuters)