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Pakistan for out of the box settlement to Kashmir issue

By Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
July 12, 2008 14:15 IST
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Seeking an "out of the box" settlement to the Kashmir issue with India, Pakistan has said the two countries need to go beyond the confidence-building measures and engage in serious dialogue to address the "real issues."

"We have to look out of the box... we have to look at innovative ways of resolution (to the Kashmir issue). We have our minds open to such issues," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday while delivering a lecture at the Brookings Institution.

"It is now our hope that the leadership of the two countries would not shy away from taking such steps and move beyond the CBMs to engaging in a serious dialogue to address the real issues, not only the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir," Qureshi said.

He said that Islamabad has shown flexibility, adding that there was "a general feeling and a public perception in Pakistan that a matching response should come from India."

Qureshi said India-Pakistan dialogue should "now move from resolving conflicts rather than lingering with them."

Replying to question on whether the Kashmir issue could be sorted out by the two countries in the next three to five years, Qureshi said it is a long standing problem where there are no quick fixes or solutions.

"We have to be honest. We have to be realistic. But the issue needs to be addressed. We cannot keep it under the carpet indefinitely," he said.

"That is why we are building an environment of confidence for any resolution. But the most important thing is trust, belief. And that is what we are trying to do," he said.

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Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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