Thu. Aug 22nd, 2019

Trump reiterates offer to mediate Kashmir dispute; India Says ‘it’s a bilateral issue’

New Delhi: United States President Donald Trump has reiterated his offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, telling reporters he is willing to intervene but a decision would be up to the leaders of both the countries.
Last month, Trump, while talking to the media alongside Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, had said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently asked him whether he would like to be a mediator or arbitrator on Kashmir — something New Delhi immediately denied.
Trump, when questioned on Thursday by a reporter regarding India’s rejection of third-party mediation, asked: “Have they accepted the offer or not?” When told no, he said: “It is really up to Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi.”
“I met Prime Minister [Imran] Khan, I got along great with [the premier]. I think they are fantastic people — Khan and Modi — I mean, I would imagine they could get along very well,” he added.
“But if they wanted somebody to intervene, to help them […] and I spoke with Pakistan about that and I spoke frankly in India about it […] that battle has been going on for a long time.” “If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene,” Trump said.
India, however, again rejected President Trump’s offer. India’s foreign minister said he told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that any discussion of the disputed Himalayan region would be between India and Pakistan only. The two men met on Friday on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in Bangkok. India has long refused outside attempts to resolve the conflict while Pakistan has sought international help.
“Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar said in a tweet.

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