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Kashmir figures in Bush-Jamali talks

October 02, 2003 13:05 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali and United States President George W Bush on Wednesday discussed the Kashmir issue, bilateral relations, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The US will continue to play an important role in the revival of the Pakistan-India dialogue process to resolve outstanding issues, including Kashmir," Jamali said after the talks with Bush over lunch at the White House.

"We believe dialogue alone is the only path to resolve all sensitive issues between the two SAARC neighbours, especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. I re-emphasise that Pakistan remains committed to the peace process and express the hope that India will reciprocate our goodwill," he said.

He said he would meet Secretary of State Colin Powell to review the situation in South Asia. "We will discuss the shift in balance in detail and only then it will be possible to comment on it," he said.

The PM said the issue of India-Israel defence cooperation did not come up for discussion.

Jamali said he informed Bush that in the interest of peace and security in South Asia, the conventional balance between Pakistan and India must be preserved.

He also indicated that the US has promised further economic assistance. "One doesn't go home empty-handed from this part of the world."

Bush had granted a $3 billion aid to Pakistan during his Camp David meeting with President Pervez Musharraf in June this year.

Wednesday's talks came about a week after Musharraf's meeting with the American leader in New York on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly.

Jamali said the president informed him about a new resolution being tabled in the UN Security Council later in the day.

On Pakistan's response to sending troops to Iraq, he said, "I informed President Bush that we will study the resolution and due to its sensitive nature, we will take into confidence parliament and the people."

Regarding the Afghanistan situation, he said, "We are partner in the fight against extremism and we will continue our efforts in this regard.

"It is our consistent effort to root out terrorism and extremism in all its manifestations and forms. We firmly believed that no cause could be justified or promoted through heinous acts of terror."

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