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Pakistan

AFP
August 21, 2019

Trump reiterates offer to mediate on Kashmir issue

Pakistan

AFP
Wed, Aug 21, 2019

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump says he would do his best to mediate or help somehow with the tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue.

Speaking a day after phone calls with the premiers of both countries, Trump said he was happy to try and help calm the situation in occupied Kashmir where tensions have spiked since India revoked autonomous rule on August 5.

His comments came as Pakistan said three of its civilians died in Indian gunfire from across the Line of Control.

Trump -- who has previously spoken of his willingness to mediate -- said he would raise the situation over the weekend with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both men are expected in France for a summit of the Group of Seven industralized nations.

"Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have Hindus and you have the Muslims and I wouldn’t say they get along so great," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"I will do the best I can to mediate," he added.

At least 4,000 people have been detained in Indian-occupied Kashmir since early August when authorities imposed a communications blackout and restricted freedom of movement in the region.

A senior US official, who has just returned from a visit to the region, called on India Tuesday to quickly release detainees and restore basic liberties.

"We continue to be very concerned by reports of detentions, and continued restrictions on the residents of the region," the State Department official told reporters.

"We urge respect for individual rights, compliance with legal procedures and an inclusive dialogue," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

- British PM Johnson speaks to Modi -

India has bristled at any suggestion of foreign mediation and strenuously denied a claim by Trump last month that Modi had invited him to act a peacebroker.

It was also left seething when the UN Security Council held its first formal meeting on Kashmir in nearly half a century last week, saying it would not accept "international busybodies ... tell(ing) us how to run our lives."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Modi in a phone call on Tuesday that the Kashmir dispute must be resolved between India and Pakistan alone.

Johnson "made clear that the UK views the issue of Kashmir as one for India and Pakistan to resolve bilaterally. He underlined the importance of resolving issues through dialogue," a spokeswoman for his Downing Street office said.

But in a further sign of the international concern about the situation, officials in France said that President Emmanuel Macron would bring up Kashmir with Modi when the two meet in Paris ahead of the G7 summit.