Pak seeks US' engagement in resolving Kashmir

US, Pak begin strategic dialogue, talk about energy cooperation

Pak seeks US' engagement in resolving Kashmir

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during the opening session of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue on Wednesday. AP



Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also harped on the Kashmir issue asking the US to "constructively engage" in the process of its peaceful resolution with India.

In his opening remarks at the Strategic Dialogue, the first of its kind at the level of Foreign Ministers, Qureshi sought "non-discriminatory" access to vital energy resources.

"We hope non-discriminatory access to vital energy resources will also be made available to us, so that we too can pursue our economic and industrial development plans," Qureshi, who is leading the Pakistani delegation that also includes Army Chief Kayani, said.

In her remarks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the would help Pakistan in all issues, including meeting "urgent energy needs."

Pakistan has been demanding a nuclear deal with the US similar to the one Washington has with India. But, the US has been taking the demand coolly due to proliferation concerns.

However, in the run up to the talks, the US has been indicating that it would consider the demand for a nuclear cooperation.

Bringing the issue of Kashmir, Qureshi said "Pakistan will continue to seek a peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes in South Asia including Kashmir. We hope the United States will maintain its constructive engagement to encourage this process."

The Pakistani Foreign Minister pledged support for action against extremism but also said that Pakistan had key wishes from the United States.

"Pakistan is committed to doing its part to facilitate the world community's effort for peace and stability in Afghanistan. We hope the world community will be equally responsive to our legitimate concerns and help advance common interests," he said.

Clinton said she wanted to speak directly to the people of Pakistan and acknowledged that the two nations "have had our misunderstandings and disagreements in the past."

"There are sure to be more disagreements in the future, as there are between any friends or, frankly, any family members... But this is a new day. For the past year, the Obama administration has shown in our words and deeds a different approach and attitude toward Pakistan," Clinton, who was seen effusively clapping at the end of Qureshi's remarks, said.

Directly addressing the people of Pakistan through her opening remarks, which was telecast live there, Clinton said: "This is a new day. For the past year, the Obama Administration has shown in our words and deeds a different approach and attitude toward Pakistan."

Appreciative of Pakistan's recent steps in the fight against terrorism, Clinton said Pakistan stands on the forefront of fight against violent extremism and added that outcome of fight against terrorism will be very important.

During the inaugural session, open to the press, Mullen was seen talking with Kayani most of the time, with the latter mostly nodding his head.

Though Qureshi did not make any direct reference to seeking big-ticket army hardware, he did mention sought help on addressing its acute energy and water shortages.

While praising Pakistan, in particularly its Army, for the fight against terrorism in the region and identifying Pakistan as a key partner for the US, Clinton acknowledged that the two nations have had misunderstandings and disagreements in the past.

The two countries are expected to come out with a joint statement tomorrow, at the end of conclusion of the two-day of Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.

The next round of Strategic Dialogue is scheduled to be held within the next six months in Islamabad, Clinton said.

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