India and Pakistan must try to resolve the "core issue" of Kashmir and other outstanding problems to start a "new era" of trust, amity and friendship in the region, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said. Addressing the third Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building in Asia in Istanbul, Qureshi noted that External Affairs Minister S M Krishna would be visiting Pakistan on July 15.
"I look forward to have constructive and result-oriented dialogue with him.We believe that as the two largest countries in South Asia, Pakistan and India must earnestly endeavour to resolve all outstanding disputes including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir to start a new era of trust, amity and friendship in the region," Qureshi said. He also told the participants at the Summit that the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India held a constructive meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan in April and they agreed to resume the stalled dialogue process at the Foreign Ministers' level. Qureshi also spoke on the issue of terrorism as well as the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan, like other CICA member countries, is deeply concerned on the continued instability in Afghanistan, he said.
"Terrorism remains the paramount security threat confronting the world today. As a neighbour of Afghanistan, Pakistan has been in the forefront of the fight against terrorism," he said. Pakistan has suffered enormous losses both in terms of human lives and material, which include more than 2500 security personnel and 10,000 civilians. Economic losses exceed US $ 40 billion, he said. "We are determined to pursue the terrorists to the very end," he said, adding that there is a need to forge a cooperative approach against the threat of terrorism by the international community.
He also said the global community should address root causes which are exploited by the terrorists to radicalise the youths. These include economic deprivations, political injustices, foreign occupation and denial of fundamental rights including the "right to self-determination". On Afghanistan, Qureshi said Pakistan has been closely working with Turkey and other partner countries for peace, stability and re-construction of the war-torn country. "We support President Hamid Karzai's initiative of national reconciliation and re-integration. Pakistan has high stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan, as it would facilitate early return of 3.5 million Afghan refugees to their homeland in honour and dignity," he said.
Asked about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer for dialogue in Kashmir, Qureshi said Pakistan welcomed it. "I think the speech made by Prime Minister Singh was a very visionary speech. I welcome the speech in Kashmir and I think it is a good offer and we should welcome it," he said. On the agenda of the upcoming Foreign Minister-level talks between India and Pakistan, Qureshi said the two sides were free to raise any topic that was of concern. "Anything and everything will be discussed and can be discussed -- all issues of concern -- that they would want to raise, they are welcome to raise and issues that we have we will raise," he said on the sidelines of the CICA summit.
On a question regarding Jamaat-ud-Dawaa chief Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistani Foreign Minister said one has to respect the judicial process. "... as in India, in Pakistan we respect the decisions of judiciary," he said.