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US rejects Pak efforts for mediation on Kashmir

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 24, 2010 17:47 IST
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On the eve of its key strategic dialogue with Pakistan, the Obama administration rejected efforts by that country to have the US mediate in resolving bilateral problems with India like Kashmir and water.

The US told Pakistan it would be "sensible" to look to the existing bilateral mechanism to resolve any of the issues with India.

"We're well aware that there is a 50-year-old agreement between Pakistan and India concerning water," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Pakistani TV channel when asked if there could be a US role in the matter.

"Well, usually, where there is an agreement, as there is between India and Pakistan on water, with mediation techniques, arbitration built in, it would seem sensible to look to what already exists to try to resolve any of the bilateral problems between India and Pakistan," she said, pouring cold water on Pakistan's attempts to get US involved in resolving its bilateral issues with India.

Clinton, however, offered US help to Pakistan on better using its existing resources.

At the strategic dialogue, Pakistan is likely to highlight its water "dispute" with India as one of the items that needed US intervention. It is also seeking a direct US role in reviving the peace process with India and addressing the Kashmir issue.

Echoing Clinton's sentiments, another top US official also shot down Pakistan's plea to the Obama administration to help it resume peace talks with India and mediate on key disputes with New Delhi on issues including Kashmir.

"It is for India and Pakistan to resolve all their disputes bilaterally and the Obama Administration does not sees a role for itself in it unless both the countries want it," Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke told journalists at a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir in Washington.

Responding to questions from the Pakistani media on this issue, Holbrooke, however, said that the US encourages both India and Pakistan to talk to each other on all the issues.

He said talking on Kashmir is not in his mandate.

Clinton said in the course of the strategic dialogue, "what we want to do is focus on the problem. If the problem is water or agriculture or energy, without looking externally, as we do in our other strategic dialogues, when we have a strategic dialogue with Russia, it's between the United States and Russia."

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