EU role sought in Kashmir settlement
7 June 2006
Islamabad: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Wednesday urged the European Union to play a meaningful role in facilitating a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute, saying that it is hampering the normalisation process between Pakistan and India. He told Baroness Emma Nicholson, Chairperson of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee that Pakistan opposed acquisition of nuclear weapons by any country but it recognised Iranís right to use the technology for peaceful purposes under the International Atomic Energy Agencyís guidelines and safeguards. He said Pakistan wanted a negotiated settlement of Iranís nuclear issue and it was against use of force in this respect. Mr Aziz said the EU was a flag bearer of independence of nations and human rights in the world and it should play its role in ameliorating the sufferings of people of held Kashmir. He said Pakistan was keen to settle its disputes, including the Kashmir issue, with India through negotiations to ensure sustainable peace in South Asia. He mentioned various proposals advanced by Pakistan, including demilitarisation of the occupied territory, in order to seize the opportunity of bringing stability and peace in the region. He said Pakistan supported the Karzai government as a strong and vibrant Afghanistan was in its interest. He said no trade and business initiative in the region could succeed without a stable Afghanistan. He said Pakistanís trade with Afghanistan had risen to $1.5 billion. He said Pakistan sought systematic repatriation of three million Afghan refugees living on its soil.