Access to Headley likely in weeks ahead: Roemer

Access to Headley likely in weeks ahead: Roemer

Access to Headley likely in weeks ahead: Roemer

US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer. PTI

"There are a couple of things the Indian government needs to do and direct access will be delivered at some point in the weeks ahead," US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer told reporters after paying homage to the victims of the February 13 bomb blast at the German bakery here which left 17 dead.

Noting that he recognised the importance of Headley, lodged in US custody, not only to the government of India but also to the people of the country, he said, "Headley symbolises the historic cooperation between the two countries.

"I would like to underscore that for the last several weeks and months the US and Indian government have been working closely together. The first step is indirect access... questions being submitted and answers immediately given to the people of India. The next step is direct access which we are hopeful that it takes place in the weeks ahead," he said.

Roemer, however, declined to disclose the steps the Indian government was required to take before direct access was granted to Headley, who surveyed terror targets in Mumbai, Pune and several other places in the country. "It is up to your government to answer that," he told reporters who insisted that he reveal the conditions to be met by the Indian government to gain access to Headley.

Emphasising that the US wanted to help India in gaining access to Headley, Roemer said, "Your Solicitor General visited the US. He was extremely happy and satisfied from the briefings he received in the US. Things went extremely well for getting open the doors to Headley and India now has to walk to that door."

The US Ambassador recalled how as a member of the 9/11 commission he could not get access to the mastermind of the attack Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with the American government refusing permission.

Roemer described as "incredible" the level of cooperation between the US and India ever since he took over 11 months ago. "We have worked hand-in-hand, shoulder-to- shoulder, neck-by-neck. There has not been any kind of trouble on that part."