Pakistan willing for US mediation in talks with India

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, April 5 (IANS) Even as India rebuffed the suggestion, Pakistan has welcomed the US' offer to help de-escalate tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad.

"Any positive role that the US plays in bringing peace and stability in South Asia can serve the region well," Pakistan's envoy to the US, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, said on Tuesday.

The development came after US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, on Monday made the offer to mediate in facilitating talks between the two neighbours.

"It's absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward," Indian-origin Haley said while addressing a news conference in New York.

Haley also hinted that the Trump administration would participate in the talks aimed at resolving differences between the two neighbours.

"I would expect that the [Trump] administration is going to be in talks and try and find its place to be a part of that because it's concerned about the situation," she said.

Chaudhry told Dawn here that Pakistan was interested in such efforts because it "wants good neighbourly relations with India".

India has ruled out third party mediation in resolving disputes with Pakistan.

Indian External Affairs spokesman Gopal Baglay on Tuesday said: "The government's position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn't changed."

He also asked the international community to persuade Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorist attacks in India.

"We, of course, expect the international community and organisations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond," he said.

A US State Department spokesperson also explained Washington's position on facilitating talks between the two countries, the Dawn reported.

"We believe India and Pakistan stand to benefit from cooperation. We encourage India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions," the spokesperson said.

According to Dawn, the US official also explained that Washington wanted to promote good relations between India and Pakistan as the "normalisation of relations is vital to both countries and the region".

"Steps that initiate closer regional economic ties can also create jobs, lower inflation and increase energy supply," the official said.

He also maintained the US policy that differences between New Delhi and Islamabad be resolved bilaterally and the US could only encourage them to talk.

Tensions have been rising between the two nations as India accuses Pakistan of facilitating cross-border terrorism and unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

Pakistan has denied the claims, saying Islamabad only provides moral support to the Kashmir people and accused New Delhi of "interfering" in Pakistan's internal matters.

Pakistan has also welcomed international mediation and regularly raised the Kashmir issue at different UN fora.

--IANS

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