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US to Pakistan: Stop anti-India terror groups; Kashmir bilateral issue

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Oct 22, 2010 18:20 hrs

Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) Getting tough with Pakistan, the United States has told visiting Pakistani leaders to stop all terrorist elements within its border that pose a threat to India and Afghanistan and also rejected Islamabad's request to intervene in the Kashmir dispute.

In the on-going strategic dialogue, the US said that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved through bilateral talks between India and Pakistan.

'We will continue to work with Pakistan, try to find ways to put pressure on these extremist elements that represent a threat to Pakistan, a threat to Afghanistan, a threat to India, a threat to the region as a whole and a threat to the United States,' State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told foreign media Thursday.

'So this security and counter-terrorism remains a significant part of our strategic dialogue,' he said.

The dialogue led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is also attended by Pakistan's powerful army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

On Kashmir, Crowley said: 'We recognise the importance of Kashmir to both India and Pakistan. We absolutely want to see tensions eased and ultimately a resolution to the situation in Kashmir.'

'That we believe needs to come through additional dialogue between Pakistan and India. We have not been asked by both countries to play a particular role. This is the reason why, for a number of reasons we continue to encourage further dialogue between India and Pakistan,' he said in response to a question.

Crowley described both India and Pakistan as US allies and said his country will continue to encourage both countries in their efforts to achieve piece and stability in the region.

His comments came a day after Qureshi sought US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Policy magazine's blog 'The Cable' reported that the get tough with terrorists message was delivered personally by US President Barack Obama to the visiting Pakistani delegation during a meeting with National Security Advisor in-waiting Tom Donilon.

Qureshi, Kayani, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani were among those present at the meeting.

Obama dropped by and stayed for 50 minutes, according to an official who was there, and personally delivered the tough message that other top US officials have been communicating since the Pakistani delegation arrived, the Cable said.

Earlier Wednesday, Clinton dropped in unannounced during an another meeting between Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke and Kayani.

'She delivered the message that Washington's patience is wearing thin with Pakistan's ongoing reluctance to take a more aggressive stance against militant groups operating from Pakistan over the Afghan border,' The Cable reported.

A similar message was delivered to General Kayani in another high-level meeting Wednesday at the Pentagon with Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman admiral Mike Mullen.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)



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