NATO urges India, Pakistan to de-escalate tensions

January 29th, 2009 - 1:20 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Jan 28 (IANS) Refusing to intervene in the “bilateral relations” of India and Pakistan, the NATO has urged them to take all necessary steps to de-escalate the tension in their ties, a spokesman for the 26-nation military alliance said here Wednesday.NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer had paid an official visit to Islamabad last week, during which he was briefed about the current stand-off between India and Pakistan following the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told journalists.

“Of course, it is not for the secretary-general to intervene in these bilateral relations. All he has done is called on all parties to take all steps necessary to de-escalate tensions,” the EuAsiaNews quoted Appathurai as saying.

However, the official said, NATO and Pakistan have agreed to boost political relations.

“Pakistan and NATO agreed on enhancing bilateral political relations. In other words, not to see this relation in the prism of Afghanistan but through its own right,” Appathurai said.

“You will certainly see enhanced political exchanges. There will be well developed political relationship relatively soon,” he added.

Scheffer visited Pakistan Jan 22-23 and met President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar and defence chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, as well as other senior officials.

The NATO chief thanked the Pakistani authorities for keeping the NATO supply line to Afghanistan open. “All in all it was a very positive trip,” the spokesman added.

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