Kashmir Issue Will Take Time: Powell
7 September 2004
The Hindustan Times
Washington DC: Kashmir is a 'very difficult issue' that will take time to resolve, US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said and pointed out that the environment for positive discussions between India and Pakistan has greatly improved. 'Kashmir is a very difficult issue,' Powell told reporters on Tuesday. 'It will take time to resolve,' he said, adding both countries know that it has to be dealt with and it is part of their agenda. Powell comments came after talks between Foreign Minister K Natwar Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in New Delhi concluded on Monday. The Secretary of State said that he had spoken to both Singh and Kasuri late last week before they had their meeting and 'I was pleased to learn from both of them that they are entering into this dialogue in a positive way. Both ministers recognise that Kashmir is an issue among many issues that have to be dealt with between the two nations. I am pleased that they are actually talking to one another at this level and at any many other levels and that the environment for positive discussions has improved so greatly over the last year and a half, two years,' he said. 'You'll recall less than about two years ago we were concerned about a major conflict between the two nations and now they are in discussions with one another,' he said, noting this week's meeting was the first between the two ministers in a fairly long period of time. 'So let's take heart in the reality that they are discussing all issues between the two countries, of which Kashmir is one, and both have acknowledged that.'