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Pakistan Foreign Minister Requests US Role In Talks With India, Gets Rejected

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| October 4 , 2018 , 12:11 IST

As relations between India and Pakistan continue to be strained, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a trip to the US, sought an American role in facilitating talks between India and Pakistan, but was rejected by the US, Qureshi said on Wednesday from Washington.

"When we asked the US, to play facilitating role...Why do we ask? Simply because we are not engaging bilaterally. And that bilateral disengagement is a distraction. We want to focus, we want to move on the western side of the border, which we are not being able to because we have to watch our back from eastern side (of the border with India). That is not a healthy situation to be in," Qureshi said.

The statements from Pakistan's Foreign Minister came a day after he held meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton regarding an active role of the US in talks between Pakistan and India.

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"Now can you (United States) facilitate? The answer from them is no. They wanted bilaterally. But there is no bilateral movement," Qureshi said warning that this could lead to escalation of tension between India and Pakistan.

"If that lack of facilitation leads to escalation and some of the statements that have come out of late have not been very helpful," the Pakistani foreign minister said.

"The so-called surgical strikes and stuff like that doesn't make sense. It does not, that's politics.. there are elections around the corner," Qureshi said.

"If the Indians have a better option, share it with us. If disengagement, if not talking to each other will resolve and stabilise the region, fine. If that's their analysis fine," Qureshi said.

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"It's unfortunate. That's the way it is. Now. What does this government want? We want normalisation. We want co-existence. You've got to recognise the reality. Pakistan is a reality. So is India. We have issues. How do we resolve them?" he asked.

Qureshi also highlighted that Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan promoted peace between the two nations.

After coming to power, the first speech made by Prime Minister Khan was "that every step you (India) take towards peace, we will take two. And he meant it. It wasn't just because it sounded good. It wasn't to please anyone. He is too blunt a person to please people. He can be very straight and he can be very blunt. But he said that because he feels that way," Qureshi said.