US rejects Pakistan's plea to facilitate talks with India

Oct 05, 2018, 10:34 IST | Agencies

Pakistan wants the US to facilitate talks with India as the two nations are not engaging bilaterally, the top Pakistani diplomat told a Washington audience Wednesday

US rejects Pakistan's plea to facilitate talks with India
Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Mike Pompeo. Pic/AFP

The US has rejected Pakistan's plea to facilitate talks with India and pressed for bilateral engagement between the two South Asian neighbours, according to foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Pakistan wants the US to facilitate talks with India as the two nations are not engaging bilaterally, the top Pakistani diplomat told a Washington audience Wednesday. "When we asked the US, to play facilitating role...Why do we ask? Simply because we are not engaging bilaterally. And that bilateral disengagement is a distraction," Qureshi said in response to a question.

"We want to focus, we want to move on the western side of the border, which we are not being able to because we have to watch our back from eastern side (of the border with India). That is not a healthy situation to be in," he said.

"Now can you (United States) facilitate (the talks)? The answer from them is no. They wanted to bilaterally. But there is no bilateral movement," Qureshi said, a day after he had meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, during which he raised the issue only to be pushed back by the Trump administration. Qureshi warned that the absence of bilateral talks could lead to escalation of tension between the two countries.

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