September 27, 2013 10:37:54 pm
Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif on Friday said he was looking forward to it to make a “new beginning” and re-engage with India in a “substantive and purposeful dialogue.”
Addressing the UN General Assembly,he also raked up the Kashmir issue calling for a solution of the problem in accordance with the UN resolutions on the matter. “I am looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York to make a new beginning. We have a solid basis to do that,” Sharif said.
Sharif,who is scheduled to meet Singh on Sunday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly,said: “We stand ready to re-engage with India in a substantive and purposeful dialogue.”
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A strong proponent of better ties with India,Sharif said,”Pakistan and India can prosper together; and the entire region would benefit from our cooperation.”
“Our two countries have wasted massive resources in an arms race. We could have used those resources for the economic well-being of our people. We still have that opportunity,” he said. “I am committed to working for a peaceful and economically prosperous region. This is what our people want and this is what I have long aspired for.”
Raising the Kashmir issue,Sharif said the UN “must continue to remain attentive to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and the full realisation of the right to self-determination of its people. The suffering of the people cannot be brushed under the carpet,because of power politics.”
Sharif said the UN has to “a critical role” to play in resolving “festering disputes”.
“As in the past,Pakistan calls upon the international community to give an opportunity to the Kashmiris to decide their future peacefully,in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir was presented to the Security Council in January 1948; and yet the issue remains unresolved after nearly seven decades.”
Sharif said Pakistan and India have a solid basis to re-engage and prosper together.
“We can build on the Lahore Accord signed in 1999,which contained a road map for the resolution of our differences through peaceful negotiations,” he said,adding he personally has an aspiration for “regional peace and stability.”
“Shortly after assuming office,I received a message of goodwill from the Prime Minister of India,Dr. Manmohan Singh. I extended an invitation to him to engage with us to address all outstanding issues between our two countries. Prime Minister Singh’s response was positive,” he said.
On nuclear disarmament,Sharif said Pakistan will continue to pursue the goals of disarmament and non-proliferation and adhere to the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence,without entering into an arms race.
He,however,stressed Pakistan would not remain “oblivious to the evolving security dynamics in South Asia”,and would not agree to an arrangement that is “detrimental” to its security and strategic interests.
“Our position on the proposed Fissile Material Treaty is determined by our national security interests and the objective of strategic stability in South Asia,” he added. “Pakistan qualifies for full access to civil nuclear technology for peaceful purposes,to meet its growing energy needs,for continued economic growth. By the same token,as a mainstream partner in the global non-proliferation regime,Pakistan has impeccable credentials to join the multilateral export control regime,including the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
Sharif also condemned terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations”,saying “We are resolved to oppose the forces of terrorism,by all means at our disposal.”
On CIA-operated drones strikes inside Pakistan,he said it “is a continued violation of our territorial integrity.”
He asked the US to stop drone attacks as such strikes were “detrimental to our resolve and efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism from Pakistan”.
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