US Declines Mediation on Kashmir

Obama administration has turned down the latest Pakistani request to mediate on Kashmir, saying that it realizes the significance of the issue to both India and Pakistan but it has to be ultimately resolved bilaterally.

“We understand the importance of the Kashmir issue to both Pakistan and India, and it is something that we do discuss with both countries,” Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, P J Crowley, said at a news briefing.

“But obviously, at the end of a process that has to be something that is resolved ultimately between Pakistan and India with the active involvement of the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Crowley made above statements while answering queries about an opinion piece written by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in The New York Times in which he sought mediation of United States in resolving the Kashmir issue.

“Just as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute cannot be resolved without accommodating the Palestinian people, there cannot be permanent regional peace in South Asia without addressing Kashmir,” Zardari wrote and appealed to the US to “demonstrate American neutrality and willingness to help India and Pakistan overcome their mutual distrust.”

“It (the US) could start by stepping up its efforts to mediate the Kashmir dispute,” Zardari said in his op-ed.

Commenting on Zardari’s opinion piece, Crowley said, “I thought it was a fine op-ed.”

Responding to another query on whether Obama Administration sees any role for the US in this regard, as is being requested by Islamabad, the State Department said: “I am not aware that we’ve been asked to play a specific role at this point.”

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