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Meets Pak PM in Davos: Trump once more gives to ‘lend a hand’ unravel Kashmir


Davos, Jan 22:
President Donald Trump has said that the US is watching the developments
between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “very closely” and repeated
his offer to “help” resolve the dispute between the two neighbors
during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan here.

Addressing the
media with Khan prior to their private meeting on the sidelines of the World
Economic Forum here on Tuesday, President Trump asserted that trade and borders
were both critical points for discussion, while Khan said that for him,
Afghanistan was the top priority.

Trump told Khan,
whom he referred to as “my friend”, that he would speak to Prime
Minister Narendra Modi about the ongoing Kashmir issue. The US president is
expected to visit India in the coming weeks, marking his first visit after
taking up his post in the White House. “What’s going on between Pakistan
and India… if we can help, we certainly will be willing to. We have been
watching it very closely and it’s an honor to be here with my friend,”
Trump said.

 

“The
Pakistan-India conflict is a very big issue for us in Pakistan and we expect
the US to always play its part in deescalating the tensions because no other
country can,” Khan said. President Trump has repeatedly offered to mediate
following India’s August 5 decision to revoke the special status to Jammu and
Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories, evoking strong
reactions from Pakistan which has been trying to internationalize the issue.

New Delhi has
defended its move, saying Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and
the issue was strictly internal to the country, and the special status
provisions only gave rise to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. “The country
took the decision of abrogation of Article 370, which had only given separatism
and terrorism to that state,” Prime Minister Modi said in October.

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Although
President Trump has offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue in the past, New
Delhi has told Washington that it is a bilateral matter between India and
Pakistan and there is no scope for any third-party mediation. On the sidelines
of the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz in August last, Prime Minister
Modi, while interacting with the media alongside President Trump, categorically
rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on
Kashmir, saying the two countries can resolve all issues bilaterally and
“we don’t want to trouble any third country”.

This was the
third meeting between Trump and Khan since Pakistan premier assumed office in
2018, and it came against the backdrop of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah
Mehmood Qureshi’s recent trip to the US, amid reports that the US and Afghan Taliban
were close to striking a peace deal. “There are issues we want to talk
about. The main issue is Afghanistan because it concerns the US and Pakistan.
Fortunately, we are on the same page. Both of us are interested in peace there
and an orderly transition in Afghanistan with talks with Taliban and the
government,” Khan said.

When a reporter
asked Trump if he would visit Pakistan considering he was already set to visit
India, the US president evaded a direct answer and said he was meeting the
Pakistan premier in Davos. “Well, we’re visiting right now. So we don’t
really have to. I wanted to say that from a relationship standpoint, we got a
great relationship. From the standpoint of our two countries, we’re getting
along very well. I would say we’ve never been closer to Pakistan the way we’re
right now. And this is a big statement,” Trump said.

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However, Foreign
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday that President Trump has
assured Prime Minister Khan that he would visit Pakistan soon. Several “important
issues” were discussed in the hour-long “productive” meeting
between the two leaders, Qureshi was quoted as saying by Dawn.

The foreign
minister said he was also present during the meeting, which was attended by
Trump’s “entire team”. Qureshi said President Trump was also briefed
on the measures taken by Pakistan to get off the Financial Action Task Force’s
grey list. Pakistan also asked for US support on the matter, he added.

Khan left for
Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum and on Tuesday. The four-day
summit which kicked off on Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the forum. A
total of 53 heads of State are on the guest list. Nearly 3,000 participants
from 118 countries are expected to attend the event during which political leaders,
business executives, heads of international organizations and civil society
representatives are set to deliberate on contemporary economic, geopolitical,
social and environmental issues.

‘No scope for
third-party mediation’

New Delhi, Jan
22: There is no role for any third-party intervention on the issue of Kashmir,
government sources said a day after US President Donald Trump’s fresh offer to
“help” India and Pakistan resolve the lingering dispute.

New Delhi’s
long-held position has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and
Pakistan and there is no question of any mediation or intervention by any third
party.

Speaking to
reporters with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Davos on Tuesday, Trump
said the US was watching the developments relating to Kashmir “very
closely” and repeated his offer to “help” resolve the dispute.

READ  India slams Kashmir reference in Pak-Malaysia joint observation

It was Trump’s
fourth offer in last five months to help both the countries resolve the Kashmir
issue after India withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and
bifurcated the state into two union territories.

“What’s
going on between Pakistan and India if we can help, we certainly will be
willing to. We have been watching it very closely,” Trump said.

Official sources
said India’s clear and consistent position has been that there is no role to
play for any third party on Kashmir.

Trump is expected
to visit India in the second half of February.

It is learnt that
India had communicated to Washington after Trump’s offer to mediate on Kashmir
last year that it is a bilateral matter with Pakistan. (PTI)


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