Pakistan today said it will not start any dialogue with India if Kashmir issue was not part of the agenda, even as US Secretary of State John Kerry advised the two neighbours to resume peace talks overcoming “historical mistrust”.
National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz and Kerry addressed a joint press conference here after talks which were part of the bilateral Strategic Dialogue.
Aziz said that the cancellation of last year’s scheduled talks over meeting with Kashmiri leaders shows that India was not interested to talk on this issue.
“Pakistan will not start talks with India without Kashmir,” he said.
Kerry said US would continue to encourage the two sides to move forward and hold dialogue to resolve the issue. He also voiced concern over the border tension between the two neighbours.
“We continue to be deeply concerned by the recent spate of increased violence along the working boundary and the Line of Control,” Kerry said.
“It is profoundly in the interests of Pakistan and India to move this relationship forward,” he added.
Kerry said, “this is the hardest kind of work. It means you have to put a lot of time and effort into overcoming historical mistrust and past events, enmities.”
Aziz claimed that India was involved in unprovoked firing across the border.
The two sides in the dialogue also discussed the relations between Pakistan and India.
Aziz also appealed to the US, saying, “we hope that the US as an influential member of the international community can prevail upon India to work with Pakistan towards regional peace.”
He insisted that Pakistan wanted “peaceful relations with all its neighbours, both on our eastern and western borders”.
India called off Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan in August last year after Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit held talks with Kashmiri separatists.