FM urges US to persuade India for talks on Kashmir - GulfToday

FM urges US to persuade India for talks on Kashmir

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Shah Mehmood Qureshi. File

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday urged the US to persuade India to start mediation talks on the Kashmir issue. His remarks come at a time when the US President Donald Trump has said that “it is up to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi” to accept America’s offer to intervene in the Kashmir issue while India has clearly rejected mediation on the matter.

Talking to journalists, the foreign minister said that India has raised questions on the US’ offer to initiate mediation talks.

Qureshi also said that India is avoiding talks on this issue and does not seem willing to address the matter.

Commenting on human rights violations in Kashmir, he said that on the one hand India is saying that Kashmir is a bilateral matter, but even then it is not ready to come to the negotiating table.

The foreign minister added: “Trump has given the mediation proposal in view of the regional situation, and we thank him for this. India will not agree to negotiate easily. We appeal to the US to use its influence to persuade India to start talks.” He also said that he is going to write a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in this regard.

“If they (Pakistan and India) wanted somebody to intervene or to help them,” Trump said in response to a question from a reporter at the White House about his earlier offer to mediate the Kashmir issue, “I spoke with Pakistan about that, and I spoke, frankly, to India about it. But that’s been going on, that battle, for a long time.”

The US president was referring to his meeting last week with Prime Minister Imran Khan, where he had offered to help to resolve the Kashmir issue.

India had rejected the offer making it clear that there can’t be any third-party intervention on the issue.

However, Pakistan welcomed it.

“Well, That’s up to, it’s really up to Prime Minister Modi. And I met Prime Minister Khan; I got along great with, I think they’re a fantastic people, Imran and Modi. I mean, I would imagine they can get along very well,” he said.

Trump added, “If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene.” Pakistan has often sought third-party mediation in the decades-old dispute which has cost tens of thousands of lives, but the idea is anathema to India, which insists the issue can only be resolved bilaterally.

Trump had set off a political storm in India by claiming during a meeting in Washington with Imran that Modi had asked him two weeks ago to mediate in the Kashmir dispute.

“I will say that we have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship was strained a little bit … maybe a lot,” Trump had said. “But we will be talking about India, it will be a big part of the conversation today.”

Meanwhile, Imran has reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to remain engaged with the United States and other stakeholders in facilitating the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

He was talking to the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who called on him in Islamabad.

Recalling his recent interaction with Trump in Washington, the prime minister emphasised that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan as well as of the broader region.

He expressed satisfaction at the evolving international consensus and interest in fully supporting efforts to achieve long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The prime minister underscored the need for inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations to evolve a road map for future of Afghanistan. Khalilzad also called on Qureshi in Islamabad.

Khalilzad shared the outcomes following 7th round of US-Taliban peace talks in Doha, Qatar and his recent engagements in Kabul. Foreign minister welcomed the progress achieved in the talks and the Intra Afghan Peace Conference in Doha in which all participants agreed upon a basic roadmap.

It was noted that ultimately the intra-Afghan dialogue would be vital to reach an agreement where Afghanistan becomes a stable, peaceful and prosperous country.

Agencies