US Encourages India-Pakistan Talks, Rule Out Mediation


Washington, March 25 (IANS) Ruling out a mediatory role between India and Pakistan, the US has said that while it welcomed a dialogue between the two South Asian nations, including on the issue of Kashmir, the modalities were for them to decide.

"Well, we've always welcomed dialogue and better relations between India and Pakistan, including on the issue of Kashmir," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday.

"But the pace, scope, and character of that dialogue are really something for the Indian and Pakistani leaders to decide," he said when asked if Pakistan's demand for a more "constructive engagement" on the Kashmir was on the table at the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue.

Toner like other administration officials also suggested that while the US would listen to everything that Pakistan had to say, including its plea for an India-type nuclear deal, it was unwilling to "pre-empt or prejudge" issues as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it.

Asked to comment on US Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke's reported comment that the US was prepared to listen to any questions about nuclear cooperation, he said: "I think I'll let Ambassador Holbrooke's words stand on that."

Earlier as the talks began Wednesday morning, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi again made a public plea to the US to "constructively engage" in the process of peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue with India and sought "non-discriminatory access to vital energy resources," an apparent reference to an India type nuclear deal.

"Regionally, Pakistan is committed to doing its part to facilitate the world 's community effort for peace and stability in Afghanistan. We hope the world community will be equally responsive to our legitimate concerns and help advance common interests," he said seeming to suggest a quid pro quo for fighting the Taliban.

"Pakistan will continue to seek a peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes in South Asia, including Kashmir. We hope the United States will maintain its constructive engagement to encourage this process," he said.

  

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Title: US Encourages India-Pakistan Talks, Rule Out Mediation



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