Obama Rules Out American Mediation On Kashmir

20 June 2009
The Hindu

Washington DC: Ruling out any American mediation on Kashmir issue, US President Barack Obama has said dialogue is the best way to reduce tension between India and Pakistan. 'I believe that there are opportunities, maybe not starting with Kashmir but starting with other issues, that Pakistan and India can be in a dialogue together and over time to try to reduce tensions and find areas of common interest,' Mr. Obama told Pakistan's Dawn TV in an interview. The answer from Mr. Obama came in response to a question as why his Administration has been silent on Kashmir, after he initially mentioned it. 'Well, I don't think that we have been silent on the fact that India is a great friend of the United States and Pakistan is a great friend of the United States, and it always grieves us to see friends fighting. And we can't dictate to Pakistan or India how they should resolve their differences, but we know that both countries would prosper if those differences are resolved,' Mr. Obama said. Categorically ruling out any mediation between India and Pakistan, Mr. Obama said: 'We want to be helpful in that process, but I don't think it's appropriate for us to be the mediators in that process. I think that this is something that the Pakistanis and Indians can take leadership on.'