U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated the need for Pakistan to prevent all terrorists from using Pakistani territory as safe havens, during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Both leaders met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Mr. Kerry also stressed the need for restraint in nuclear weapons programs – a lingering American concern regarding regional security – in the meeting, a State Department statement said. State Department spokesperson John Kirby’s statement came almost 24 hours after the meeting and he added that Mr. Kerry “commended recent efforts by Pakistani security forces to counter extremist violence.” A statement by Pakistan immediately after the meeting said Mr. Sharif sought a U.S. role in Kashmir but the U.S. statement makes no mention of it. U.S. maintains that India and Pakistan must resolve issues bilaterally.
“The Prime Minister and Secretary Kerry expressed strong concern with recent violence in Kashmir — particularly the army base attack — and the need for all sides to reduce tensions,” Mr. Kirby said. He said both leaders discussed “our strong, long-term bilateral partnership and to build upon the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.” Mr. Kerry commended the Prime Minister for restoring macroeconomic stability to Pakistan over the last three years and expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s cooperation on climate change priorities, said Mr. Kirby.
“The Secretary praised Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees for over 40 years and highlighted the importance of continued respect for humanitarian principles,” he said.
Pakistan, meanwhile, is using the ongoing crisis in Jammu and Kashmir to press its demand for American intervention. “I still remember (former) President (Bill) Clinton’s promise that the U.S. will play its role to help out in resolving bilateral disputes and issues between Pakistan and India,” Mr. Sharif told Mr. Kerry, according to Pakistan’s statement. “I expect the U.S. administration and Secretary Kerry to use his good offices to help resolve issues between Pakistan and India.” “Pakistan has always fought terrorism as a moral obligation. I have always reached out to neighbouring countries for regional peace, stability and prosperity,” Mr. Sharif told Mr. Kerry.