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Erdogan on Kashmir: India, Pakistan must keep dialogue channel open

Erdogan: "We have to build bridges, strengthen dialogue between different stakeholders. We shouldn’t allow more casualties to occur. We should strengthen multilateral dialogue. We can be involved in multilateral dialogues."

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
April 30, 2017 7:08:22 pm
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that in order to solve the Kashmir problem, both India and Pakistan need to “build bridges, strengthen dialogue between different stakeholders”. Erdogan, who is on a two-day state visit to India, in an interview to TV news channel WION said that Kashmir question upsets both countries and “surmounting the Kashmiri challenge will contribute tremendously to the global peace”.

As quoted and translated by the channel, Erdogan said: “The relations between India and Pakistan if we dig and closer, I can confidently say that the relations between the two nations are improving on a daily basis which makes me very happy. But this Kashmir question, this question saddens us deeply because I think this is a question that upsets both of the countries involved and surmounting the Kashmiri challenge will contribute tremendously to the global peace.”

Pointing out that the 70-year old issue will hurt future generations, he said: “For the last seven decades, this question (Kashmir issue) has not been settled. And I believe, doing so will provide relief to both the countries. Extending conflicts, extending questions and carrying these questions to the future will be unfair to the future generations because they will have to pay the price. And right next to the prosperity of the Kashmiri people we need security and stability in South Asia. We want this region to be peaceful. We want to win friends wherever we go.”

Erdogan said that both India and Pakistan are Turkey’s friends and they must keep the dialogue channels open and engage different stakeholders.

“India is our friend in the region. Pakistan is our friend in the region. And there are certain aspects that contribute tremendously to our ancient relations. In terms of faith, in India, we have followers of the Muslim faith. And in Pakistan there are Muslims and this brings us even closer. We have to build bridges, strengthen dialogue between different stakeholders. We shouldn’t allow more casualties to occur. We should strengthen multilateral dialogue. We can be involved in multilateral dialogues. I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all. It will provide great benefits to both the countries.”

Erdogan defended Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of being a well-meaning person and said that he has been discussing these issues with him at length.

“My dear friend, the prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif is an individual with whom I have been discussing these issues at length and I know he is a man of good intentions. I know he is a good intended man. I heard him personally speak of his will to settle this question once and for all. So if we keep the dialogue channels open, we can settle this question once and for all. And all around the world, there is no better option than to keep the channels of dialogue open if we have to contribute to global peace. If we can do this, I think we can garner very positive results. And I would like to remind you that security, stability, and prosperity of the region is very important to us. I want this mentality to prevail among leaders.”

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