Resolve 'core issue' of Kashmir as per UN resolutions: Pak

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Islamabad, May 21 (UNI) Pakistan today called for resolving the ''core issue'' of Kashmir as per UN resolutions and by involving the Kashmiri people as the third party for durable and lasting solution.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee after their talks that no progress had been made on the ''core issue'' and this was the time to move ahead on Kashmir-related Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs).

''We should move ahead on the core issue and Kashmiri people should be involved as a third party if any durable and lasting solution is to be achieved,'' he said in his opening statement.

However, Mr Mukherjee stressed upon moving on various issues in tandem so that progress on other issues was not held up.

He cited the example of China saying that the Sino-Indian border problem was still to be resolved but both countries had moved forward on other issues resulting in considerable improvement in bilateral trade.

Describing the Kashmir-related CBMs effective, the Pakistan Foreign Minister said that although they had exchanged set of CBMs, they were willing to sit and discuss if more CBMs were needed.

Responding to a question, he called for resolving the issue in accordance with the UN Resolution and by involving Kashmiri people.

The External Affairs Minister said India was ''determined'' to resolving all issues with Pakistan.

The two Ministers agreed to continue discussions to build on convergences and narrow down divergences. They also agreed to continue with the implementation of Cross-LoC CBMs with a view to enhancing interaction and cooperation across the LoC.

They decided to increase the frequency of Muzaffarabad-Srinagar and Rawalkot-Poonch Bus services from a fortnightly to a weekly basis, finalize modalities for intra-Kashmir trade and truck service as early as possible, implement other measures to expand and facilitate travel and convene within two months a meeting of the Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs.

They also reaffirmed the importance of ceasefire in place since November 2003 and expressed commitment to safeguard it.

UNI RB PK NS2256

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