'Trump's Kashmir mediation offer was more than Pakistan expected'

FM Qureshi says Modi government has backtracked on mediation stance owing to political opposition in India


News Desk July 28, 2019
US President Donald Trump with PM Imran Khan and FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue exceeded Islamabad's expectations.

According to Radio Pakistan, the foreign minister told a private news channel that the proposition for the US to act as a mediator came from India, but the Modi government has backtracked from their stance owing to political opposition.

He said PM Imran used the meeting with President Trump to reaffirm Pakistan's commitment to peace in the region, particularly with India.

“Imran Khan has made the US realise that Kashmir is a flashpoint which demands an early resolution,” Qureshi said.

Trump's offer to help mend strained ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours was largely seen as a diplomatic victory for Islamabad.

India denies Modi asked Trump to mediate Kashmir issue

“I was with Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator’, I said ‘Where’, He said ‘Kashmir’. Because this has been going on for many, many years … I think they would like to see it resolved and you [Imran Khan] would like to see it resolved. If I can help, I would love to be a mediator,” Trump said.

However, India’s foreign ministry had denied that Modi ever asked Trump to act as a mediator.

“We have seen [Donald Trump’s] remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India and Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by Narendra Modi to the US president," said India’s Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

Commenting on New Delhi's retraction, FM Qureshi said such an adamant attitude would cost India heavily, adding that the situation in the Indian-occcupied territory was deteriorating by the day.

 

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On Afghanistan, the foreign minister said the US wants dialogue to resolve the conflict and PM Imran has committed to play his role in convincing the Taliban leadership.

“The prime minister categorically stated that the notion of strategic depth is outdated and Pakistan is ready to extend all-out assistance for Afghan peace,” said Qureshi.

He said Pakistan wants the ballot to replace the bullet in Afghanistan and wants Taliban leaders to join the political process by taking part in elections.

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