September 2006 News

Resolve Kashmir issue bilaterally, says Bush

22 September 2006
The Hindu

Washington: The United States President, George W. Bush, on Friday said India and Pakistan should resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally and Washington would extend all support. 'Kashmir will be solved when the two leaders [of the two countries] decide to solve it. We want to help. We can't force the nations to reach an agreement because we want the agreement,' he said at a joint press conference with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf after their talks at the White House. Both the leaders said they discussed Kashmir and India- Pakistan relations. Asking the two countries to put the 'past behind and move forward,' he maintained that a lasting agreement could come only when it is reached between leaders of the two nations. 'I am encouraged by the meeting' between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gen. Musharraf in Havana last week, Mr. Bush said, adding it was an indication of their 'desire' to solve the problem. Mr. Bush said it was 'very important' that the peace efforts between India and Pakistan move forward and the Kashmir issue resolved peacefully Asked whether the U.S. would take any initiative to resolve the Kashmir problem, he said 'it is important for you to understand that we can't impose peace. We can help create the conditions for peace to occur. We can lay out vision. We can talk to world leaders... But ultimately peace, longstanding peace, depends on the will of the leaders.' Gen. Musharraf said he discussed with Mr. Bush the rapprochement between India and Pakistan. 'I proudly told him of the meeting with the Indian Prime Minister in Havana. It was a step forward towards the resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan and the way forward we are moving on the Kashmir dispute.' Asked whether the U.S. will end the 'discriminatory attitude' towards Pakistan with regard to civil nuclear cooperation, he said: 'We talked about energy and about the recent history of dealing with proliferation matters.'


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