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'We can only support efforts to resolve Kashmir issue'
H S Rao in London
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March 07, 2006 09:17 IST

Britain has said that Washington and London [Images] could only support the efforts of India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"Now we can only support the efforts that are made by the two countries, but I think over the past few years we have shown that we are prepared to do that. I hope very much that progress is made and I think it is important," Prime Minister Tony Blair [Images] said at a joint press conference with visiting Pakistani premier Shaukat Aziz on Monday.

Asked whether it would be possible for the United States and Britain to mediate in the Kashmir issue, Blair said, "We work, and have worked, very hard with the United States to try to support the efforts of India and Pakistan to reach a solution."

He added, "I think everybody who looks at the region knows that what India and Pakistan have in common in terms of development and strategic and regional interests is so important that anything that comes between them, everyone should do their best to try to resolve."

Bilateral cooperation, trade, fight against terrorism, Kashmir and Afghanistan figured during Blair and Aziz's one-hour long meeting, which took place on Monday.

Blair said they had an opportunity to discuss the importance of making sure that 'we end any social or economic exclusion of Muslims and how it is important that we demonstrate, all of us, sensitivity towards people of another faith'.

The Pakistani premier said they had very extensive discussions as part of their strategic relationship, 'which is to promote peace and prosperity in the world and in our region'.

"We talked about Kashmir. Pakistan is a country which wants a peaceful solution of all disputes, including Kashmir, in line with the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people," Aziz said.

"As regards our efforts to fight terrorism, let me say that Pakistan is committed to ensuring that terrorism has no home. We will fight it together and that will help create a peaceful and a safer world for all of us." Aziz said. "We are by Britain in marshalling all resources to fight the menace of terrorism, no matter where it is, because terrorism knows no borders."

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