Pakistan urges US to persuade India to start talks on Kashmir

Pakistan urges US to persuade India to start talks on Kashmir

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday urged the US to use its “influence” to “persuade” India to start talks on the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s remarks came after US President Donald Trump said Kashmir was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan but he would be happy to mediate if they want him to do so.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that India was avoiding the talks and did not appear willing to negotiate on the matter.

“India insists it is a bilateral matter, but it is not even willing to come to the table for talks,” said local media.

“India won’t agree easily to the Kashmir talks. We urge the US to exercise its influence and persuade India [to come to the table],” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he will also write a letter to the United Nations chief Antonio Guterres.

Earlier, rejecting any mediation by Donald Trump on Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday made it clear to his American counterpart Mike Pompeo that “any discussion on the issue, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally”.

Last month, President Donald Trump offered to be the mediator between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue when he met Prime Minister Imran Khan for the first time at the White House.

“Trump offered mediation keeping in view the regional situation. We thank [him] for the offer, and we have expressed our willingness,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

“We want peace. Our focus right now is the Afghan peace process. If India [tries to] create any obstacle to the peace process in Afghanistan, then regional peace will suffer,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Last week, in his joint media appearance with Pakistan Prime Minister Khan in Oval Office, Donald Trump stunned India by saying that PM Modi sought his mediation/arbitration on the Kashmir issue.

India quickly denied it and said the Kashmir issue was never discussed between PM Modi and Donald Trump.

S Jaishankar made a statement in Parliament strongly refuting that the prime minister had ever made such a request.

PTI