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Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif has called for “serious and frank talks” with Indian PM Narendra Modi to resolve Kashmir issue

The United States supports constructive engagement between India and Pakistan, but the nature of talks will be decided by both countries, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday in response to a media inquiry on the Kashmir issue.

Asked about recent claims by Congressman Rahul Gandhi that if his party comes to power, the issue of Kashmir’s autonomy will be his first priority, Price said during a press briefing on Tuesday that the US supports constructive engagement.

Ned Price said “The United States supports constructive engagement between India and Pakistan, but the nature of such talks will be decided by both countries”.

Partnership with India and Pakistan

Earlier on Monday, in response to a question about Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s call for talks with India and New Delhi’s response to the offer, he said: “We have been calling for regional stability in South Asia for a long time. That is certainly what we want to see. we want it to be advanced. When it comes to our partnership, our partnership with India and Pakistan, these are relationships that stand on their own. We don’t see these relationships as zero-sum. They stand on their own”.

Last week, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for “serious and frank talks” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve outstanding issues. In an interview with Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV, Sharif said Pakistan had learned its lessons after three wars with India and stressed that it now wanted peace with its neighbour.

Resolve burning points like Kashmir issues

Sharif said “My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Modi is to sit down at the table and have serious and honest negotiations to resolve our burning points like Kashmir. It is up to us to live in peace and make progress or to quarrel with each other and squander time and resources, we have had three wars with India and they have only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment to the people. We have learned our lessons and want to live in peace with India if we can solve our real problems”.

On the issue of Russian oil, Price further added that the US has been careful not to deliberately impose sanctions on Russian oil and instead subject it to a price cap. The benefit of a price cap is that it allows energy markets to continue to be supplied with resources while depriving the masses of revenue, he said.

“We have said that we have very deliberately not imposed sanctions on Russian oil, instead it is subject to a price cap. We encourage countries to take advantage of this, even if those countries have not formally signed up to the price cap, to be able to obtain oil at significant discounts in some cases,” the spokesman said of the US State Department at a press conference.

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