Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan is willing to involve a third party in talks with India to reduce border tensions and other issues that plagued the region.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Qureshi said talks are the only way forward to resolve the Kashmir dispute, but India “is shying away” from the talks. The minister said Pakistan will even “welcome” third-party — be it Saudi Arabia or any other country — mediation on the issue.

The FM also appreciated Saudis for endorsing the reaffirmation of the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan couple of months back. He said Saudis understand that without peace there’d be no regional connectivity, adding that Saudis will be welcomed if they tried to break the ice between the South Asian arch-rivals.

The minister also said that at present Pakistan is not in “formal talks” with India, but it is possible if India takes a step forward for peace. He said in order for a meaningful dialogue, India will have to provide relief to Kashmiris because without that there’d be no talks.

Qureshi’s remarks about Saudis came on the heels of a statement by the Saudi foreign minister, wherein he said that the Kingdom was ready to play its rule in reducing tensions between Pakistan and India. He had termed the ceasefire agreement “excellent”. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud had said that Riyadh could play its role to reduce tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir and other issues.

It may be noted here that the United Arab Emirates played an active role in reducing hostilities between India and Pakistan that flared after India abrogated Article 370 and ended the autonomy granted to the occupied Kashmir under its constitution.

Last month, UAE Ambassador to US Yousef Al Otaiba told an audience at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution that the UAE played a role “in bringing Kashmir escalation down and created a ceasefire, hopefully ultimately leading to restoring diplomats and getting the relationship back to a healthy level”.


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