‘US will not get involved in Kashmir issue’

March 28th, 2009 - 10:42 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 28 (IANS) The United States has made it clear that it would steer clear of the Kashmir issue as it seeks to involve India and other key stakeholders in the region in its new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We don’t intend to get involved in that issue,” President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Gen James Jones, told reporters Friday when asked if the US expected to address issues between India and Pakistan, particularly Kashmir, as part of its new regional approach.

“But we do intend to help both countries build more trust and confidence so that Pakistan can address the issues that it confronts on the western side of the nation,” he said referring to Pakistan’s tribal areas which Obama and other US officials have described as terrorist safe havens.

“But no, Kashmir is a separate issue,” Jones said. “But we think that the times are so serious that we need to build the trust and confidence in the region, so that nations can do what they need to do in order to defeat the threat” posed by Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist groups.

“As America does more, we will ask others to join us in doing their part,” he said referring to Obama Administration’s plans to “forge a new contact group for Afghanistan and Pakistan that brings together all who should have a stake in the security of the region.”

The proposed group will include America’s NATO allies and other partners, the Central Asian states, Gulf nations, Iran, Russia, India, and China, Jones said noting, “All have a stake in the promise of lasting peace and security and development in the region.”

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