Qureshi urges US to persuade India for Kashmir talks

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday urged the United States to use its influence to persuade India to come to the table for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Responding to US President Donald Trump’s reiteration of offer to mediate between Pakistan and India on the decades-long Kashmir conflict, Qureshi said India was avoiding the talks and did not appear willing to negotiate on the matter.

“India is involved in a bloodbath (in occupied Kashmir). India insists it is a bilateral matter, but it is not even willing to come to the table for talks,” the foreign minister told media.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar earlier today rejected Trump’s reiterated offer to mediate between the two neighbours on Kashmir, saying any discussion on the disputed region would take place bilaterally and only with Pakistan.

Trump, in his meeting last month with Prime Minister Imran Khan, had offered to help to resolve the Kashmir

issue. The US president earlier this week reiterated the offer to intervene during a conversation with reporters at the White House.

“Trump offered mediation keeping in view the regional situation. We thank [him] for the offer, and we have

expressed our willingness,” Qureshi said.

“We want peace. Our focus right now is the Afghan peace process. If India [tries to] create any obstacle to the peace process in Afghanistan, then regional peace will suffer.

“India won’t agree easily to the Kashmir talks. (We urge) the US to exercise its influence and persuade India (to come to the table),” the foreign minister said, adding that he was writing a letter to the United Nations secretary general in this regard.