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|July 22, 1998||
Pak seeks international mediation over Kashmir
During talks today with US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, Pakistan pressed for international mediation to settle the Kashmir dispute.
Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan warned that Kashmir is probably the world's most dangerous conflict, now that both Pakistan and India are declared nuclear powers.
''The foreign minister conveyed to the United States the importance of preserving peace and security in South Asia, including the resolution of Kashmir,'' said a statement issued by the Pakistan foreign ministry following talks.
The biggest item on Pakistan's agenda, the lifting of US-led economic sanctions, appeared to be settled by a US promise not to block new international loans to cash-strapped Pakistan.
In Washington, senior state department and treasury officials said the US decision not to block any new International Monetary Fund loans was made by high-level officials after consultations with interested members of the US Congress, who expressed "no significant opposition.''
Economic sanctions were imposed against both Pakistan and India after the South Asian neighbours conducted nuclear tests in May.
The tests were condemned by the industrialised nations and the US immediately imposed sanctions in line with US laws.
For Pakistan, it meant a loss of $ 1.5 billion and for India $ 3 billion.
Meanwhile, government officials, who did not want to be quoted, said the US is seeking some commitment from Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and refrain from developing nuclear weapons.
While not ruling out signing the treaty, Pakistan has said it would not compromise its security. Pakistan also warned that while it did not want an arms race on the subcontinent, it would not be left behind if India pursues nuclear weapons.
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