Mar 29, 2009

No Kashmir talks: US

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser James Jones listen during President Barack Obama's meeting with Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.—AP WASHINGTON: US National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones has said that the United States will not get involved in resolving the Kashmir dispute despite its desire to lessen tensions between India and Pakistan.

But top US military official Admiral Mike Mullen acknowledged that lessening tensions over Kashmir would allow Pakistan to focus on fighting the militants hiding along the Pak-Afghan border.

The two US officials were briefing the media on President Barak Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan he announced in a nationally televised speech on Friday.

‘We don’t intend to get involved in that issue, but we do intend to help both countries build more trust and confidence so that Pakistan can address the issues that it confronts on the western side of the nation,’ said Gen. Jones.

‘But no, Kashmir is a separate issue,’ said the US national security adviser if the United States would also help resolve the Kashmir dispute to enable Pakistan to focus on its western border.

‘But we think that the times are so serious that we need to build the trust and confidence in the region, so that nations can do what they need to do in order to defeat the threat that I discussed a few minutes ago,’ he said.

Admiral Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN he hope the new US ‘regional approach’ would try to reduce tensions over Kashmir, allowing Pakistan to re-deploy troops away from arch-enemy India and to Afghan border areas.

In the new policy, President Obama stressed the need for developing a ‘regional approach’ for defeating extremism and said he would like to involve India, Iran, China, Central Asian republics and the Gulf countries in this fight.

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