US should facilitate solution to Kashmir issue: Pak

D Ravikanth

Geneva, Jan 14 (PTI) Ahead of President Asif AliZardari''s key talks with his American counterpart Barack Obamaat the White House, Pakistan today said the US shouldfacilitate a solution to its Kashmir issue with India.

Maintaining that the Mumbai attacks and the 2007 bombingof the Pakistan-bound Samjhauta Express had created problemsin normalising Indo-Pak relations, Pakistan''s envoy to the UNin Geneva, Zamir Akram, told reporters here: "Unfortunatelythe momentum has been lost."

Asked what kind of gesture Pakistan was expecting fromthe US, Akram said: "Something that Mr Obama promised when hewas a candidate for President but abandoned when he becamePresident, that is, facilitate the solution to the Kashmirdispute."

"That''s the gesture that the administration itself saidit wanted to take and they should follow up on it," he added.

He, however, said the Kashmir problem "can only besolved by people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan," arguing that"we need to go to the roots of the problem and develop commonpolicies."

His comments came ahead of President Zardari''s talkswith Obama at the White House later today.

On Afghanistan, Akram said Pakistan must be part ofefforts to strike a political solution in the war-torncountry, rather than being told to eliminate terrorists on itssoil along the Afghan border.

"What you are asking us to do is to pull your chestnutsout of the fire and be the bad guys. So we kill them while youtalk to them," he said.

Akram said the Taliban were part of native Pashtun tribesalong the Pak-Afghan border region and simply killing them wasnot viable "because we have to live with these people in thefuture."

"It is absolutely essential for us that we be part ofthis approach that is where you bring a political solution toAfghanistan and not be part of only a military approach," hesaid. "That''s where the crux is." PTI CORR KIM AKJ

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