US hopes spirit of Indo-Pak dialogue spills over for political solution in Afghanistan

Saturday, February 19, 2011

WASHINGTON - The United States is ‘encouraged’ by the news that India and Pakistan have decided to resume bilateral dialogue aimed at building trust, and it encourages both nations to work in that same spirit to support a political process in war-torn Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

“Indeed, we are encouraged by news that India and Pakistan are re-launching a dialogue aimed at building trust, and we encourage them to work in that same spirit to support a political process in Afghanistan,” Clinton said at the Launch of the Asia Society’s Series of Richard C. Holbrooke Memorial Addresses.

“We look to them - and all of Afghanistan’s neighbours - to respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, which means agreeing not to play out their rivalries within its borders, and to support reconciliation and efforts to ensure that al-Qaida and the syndicate of terrorism is denied safe haven everywhere. Afghanistan, in turn, must not allow its territory to be used against others,” she added.

Clinton also said that beyond Pakistan, all Afghanistan’s neighbours and near-neighbours- India and Iran, Russia and China, the Central Asian states- stand to benefit from a responsible political settlement in Afghanistan and also an end to al-Qaida’s safe havens in Af-Pak border areas and the “exporting of extremism into their countries.”

“That would reduce the terrorist and narcotics threat to their own citizens, create new opportunities for commerce, and ease the free flow of energy and resources throughout the region. It could also help move other regional conflicts toward peaceful resolution,” she added.

Meanwhile, US State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley was asked during a press briefing whether he thought that Clinton, who welcomed the resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue, would also talk on ‘India and Pakistan talk on Afghanistan’, when the Foreign Minister of Pakistan visits India in July this year.

“Well, as she [Clinton] reinforced today, we have a regional approach. India has an interest and is invested in Afghanistan. So is Pakistan. So are other countries in the region,” Crowley replied. (ANI)

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