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US supports Kashmir solution acceptable to all sides
February 23, 2006 14:25 IST
Maintaining that the Kashmir issue has to be resolved between India and Pakistan, President George W Bush has said the United States supports a solution to the problem, which is acceptable to all concerned parties.
"The role of the United States, in our judgement, is one that will help lead to a settlement that is acceptable to all sides," Bush told Pakistani journalists in Washington ahead of his visit to India and Pakistan next week.
The President clarified remarks made at the Asia Society earlier when he referred to the Kashmir problem having to be resolved by "both sides." "I'd like to make sure I clarify my statement for all to read. America supports a solution that is acceptable to all sides. The language should be 'all sides', because it recognises that a solution must be acceptable to India, Pakistan and those living within Kashmir," he said.
"Our position is one that says a dispute that has been so long in a nation's history can best be resolved when two nations make the determination to sit down and come up with a solution that is acceptable to all sides.
Of course, during my discussions, I will encourage that dialogue to go forward," the President said.
"I'm convinced that history changes, and as history changes, attitudes can change, circumstances change, and that we have a possibility to see this issue resolved by strong and courageous leaders," Bush said.
He brought in the economic angle to his argument saying that he was pleased to see the amount of trade taking place between Pakistan and India. "It's a substantial increase from July of '04 to July of '05.I thought that the new transportation routes between India and Pakistan are hopeful signs. And so the role of the United States, in our judgment, is one that will help lead to a settlement that is acceptable to all sides," Bush said.