Washington: Rejecting fresh calls by Pakistan seeking its intervention on the Kashmir issue, the US has made it clear that it was for India and Pakistan to find a resolution through “additional dialogue”.
The American position was affirmed a day after Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi insisted that US play an active role in the resolution of Kashmir and other disputes in the south Asian region.
“We recognize the importance of Kashmir to both countries. We absolutely want to see tensions eased and ultimately a resolution to the situation in Kashmir,” State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said at a news conference at the Foreign Press Center in Washington.
“That we believe needs to come through additional dialogue between Pakistan and India. We have not been asked by both countries to play a particular role,” he said.
“But this is the reason why, for a number of reasons we continue to encourage further dialogue between India and Pakistan,” Crowley said in response to a question.
Qureshi, who is in Washington for the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue, had raised the Kashmir issue at a conference, asking the US to help in its resolution.
“It is in the interest of lasting peace, stability and development of the region that the US works for the resolution of disputes in south Asia. This has to begin with justice for the Kashmiri people,” Qureshi said.
Qureshi also spoke about the recent unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and said “any person of conscience cannot ignore the use of brute force against defenceless Kashmiri youth.”
“In this unfolding tragedy over 100 Kashmiris have lost their lives in the past three months, many of them teenagers,” he said.
Qureshi was responding to a question at an event jointly organized by the prestigious Brookings Institute and Asia Society.
His comments came hours after the third round of the Strategic Dialogue between the US and Pakistan began.
Contending that Pakistan is “deeply interested” in a peaceful and stable south Asia, Qureshi claimed that the prospect, however, “is in danger again by the recent events in Kashmir.”
The Pakistani foreign minister’s comments have come despite US’ repeated assertion that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and it has to be solved by the two countries.
In response to another question, Qureshi said, “Pakistan wants a very good neighbourly relationship with India. What we are saying is we have outstanding issues. Both sides have agreed that dialogue is the only sensible way forward,” he said.