Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today told the Pakistani leadership that the US wants a continuation of Indo-Pak dialogue so that the two sides could amicably resolve their outstanding problems,diplomatic sources said on Monday.
Clinton,who is currently here for the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue,made the remarks after a delegation-led by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed her on the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan here on July 15.
“The Secretary of State made it clear that the US is interested that the process between Pakistan and India should be sustained,” a diplomatic source familiar with the discussions told PTI.
The Pakistani delegation told Clinton about the reasons why the Foreign Ministers had been unable to make any headway in their talks.
The Pakistani side contended that the Indian team led by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had focussed only on the issue of terrorism and shown no interest in addressing Pakistan’s concerns,including the Kashmir issue,Siachen and the need for a regional strategic restraint regime,the sources said.
Clinton responded to these issues by saying that the US would like India and Pakistan to amicably resolve their outstanding problems and address issues between the two countries,the diplomatic sources said.
Pakistan meanwhile assured the US it will work to have “good neighbourly relations with India” and said the two neighbouring countries should “address all issues and disputes between them peacefully”.
This assurance was conveyed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to Clinton during their meeting here yesterday.
Clinton on her part hoped that efforts by Pakistan to normalise relations with India would bear fruit in the near future.
A statement issued by the prime minister’s office said that Clinton was told by Gilani that Pakistan wants “good neighbourly relations with India” and that it would like both sides to “address all issues and disputes between them peacefully”.
The statement also said that at the Clinton-Gilani meeting the US acknowledged the prime minister’s “personal role in efforts to normalise relations with India”.
Qureshi and Krishna have exchanged angry barbs since their talks ended in deadlock.
Qureshi has claimed that Krishna came to Islamabad with a “limited mandate” and was not willing to focus on Pakistan’s concerns.
Sources have said the talks between the Foreign Ministers were unable to make headway due to Pakistan’s insistence on a time-bound roadmap to address outstanding issues like Kashmir,Siachen and security-related matters.
India has indicated that it favours slow and incremental steps to improve relations that suffered a major setback in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. It has also insisted that Pakistan must take steps to bring the masterminds,financiers and handlers of the attacks to justice.