Trump stresses need to reduce India-Pakistan 'tensions'

Published: August 19, 2019
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongside Asean Summit in Manila. PHOTO: REUTERS

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongside Asean Summit in Manila. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday spoke with Prime Minister Imran Khan and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging a reduction of tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours over the disputed Kashmir region.

“The president conveyed the importance of reducing tensions between India and Pakistan and maintaining peace in the region,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

Trump also talked to Prime Minister Imran Khan, their second conversation in three days on the situation in Kashmir.

“Prime Minister Khan expressed serious concern over a humanitarian crisis triggered in [occupied] Kashmir and hoped [the] US would play its role in resolving the crisis,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a televised press conference in Islamabad.

“Khan asked President Trump to talk to Indian Prime Minister Modi” about ways to lower tensions between the two countries, Qureshi said.

“We want a UN observer mission to be dispatched forthwith to Indian-administered Kashmir” and for the curfew there to be “lifted immediately,” he said.

Hailing PM Imran, the foreign minister said he was proud of the fact the way the premier had presented the case of Pakistan to President Trump.

Qureshi told the media that earlier, both the leaders spoke by telephone on August 16 where PM Imran presented Pakistan’s stance to the US president to which, Trump assured the premier that he would talk to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“President Trump said peace of the region should be maintained and he told PM Imran about it,” Qureshi said.

He said that PM Imran apprised President Trump about the situation arising in the region after Modi’s August 5 step.

Quoting PM Imran, the foreign minister observed that the unilateral move of the Indian premier had threatened peace in the region.

He said that the premier further told the US President that India wanted to change the demography in AJK so that Muslim majority in the held valley could be turned into a minority.

The premier told the US President that the unilateral step taken by India was in contravention of the international laws and UN resolution.

PM Imran further said that he was seeing a humanitarian crisis taking place in AJK.

The US President was told that 15 days had passed, the occupied valley was in curfew and several residents of the valley were either taken into custody or had gone missing.

PM Imran urged President Trump to play his role and asked him call upon India to lift curfew in the valley.

The prime minister said that the international human rights organisations should be sent to AJK so that the gravity of situation there is known to the world.

PM Imran demanded that India should honour its commitment and resolve the crisis according to the resolutions of Security Council on which it is bound to act. AFP


With additional input from our correspondent in Islamabad

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