Obama, Sharif call for sustained, resilient Indo-Pak talks

Washington: Kashmir and violence along the LoC on Thursday figured in a joint statement issued by US President Barack Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, both of whom called for a “sustained and resilient” Indo-Pak dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues.

The references to Indo-Pak ties and the need to resolve all outstanding disputes, including Kashmir, between the two countries were contained in a statement by the two leaders released by the Pakistan Foreign Office.

Obama and Sharif underlined that improvement in Pakistan-India bilateral relations would “greatly enhance” prospects for lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region, according to the statement.

The two leaders also expressed concern over violence along the Line of Control, and pledged their support for confidence-building measures and “effective mechanisms” that are acceptable to both parties, it said.

“The leaders emphasised the importance of a sustained and resilient dialogue process between the two neighbours aimed at resolving all outstanding territorial and other disputes, including Kashmir, through peaceful means and working together to address mutual concerns of India and Pakistan regarding terrorism,” the statement said.

Sharif apprised Obama about Pakistan’s resolve to take “effective action” against United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its affiliates, as per its international commitments and obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.

The statement was released soon after Sharif and Obama held their bilateral talks at the White Office’s Oval Office.

Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Afghanistan-based dreaded Haqqani network are not banned in Pakistan. India has been pressing Islamabad to take action against Saeed who has been spewing venom against India and the US.

Pakistan has, however, ruled out the possibility of banning JuD and maintained that there is no evidence to link it with terrorism and the outlawed LeT.

Sharif acknowledged the ongoing counterterrorism efforts that have driven the US-Pakistan security cooperation since the 9/11 attacks.

Affirming that this security relationship has been and will continue to be integral to regional stability, both Sharif and Obama noted that the stability of South Asia “depended on cooperation among all neighbours to suppress all extremist and militant groups operating in the region”.

Obama and Sharif said they recognised the shared interest in strategic stability in South Asia.