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Obama Calls Sharif

by AFP
Saul Loeb—AFP

File Photo. Saul Loeb—AFP

U.S. president discusses his trip to India, regional issues during 30-minute call.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to brief him on his visit to India last month and discuss regional issues, officials said.

Obama was last month honored as chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade at the invitation of premier Narendra Modi, amid warming ties between the U.S. and India, Pakistan’s traditional rival.

“He [President Obama] updated the P.M. about his India visit. Obama said the U.S. is appreciative of Pakistan’s growing positive relations with Afghanistan,” a statement from Sharif’s office said. “Obama appreciated Pakistan for successfully launching Operation Zarb-e-Azb,” the statement added.

The Prime Minister’s Office said Sharif told Obama during the half-hour long call that Pakistan was against India’s candidature for U.N. Security Council membership. “P.M. said India doesn’t deserve a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council as the country has been violating U.N. resolutions on Kashmir,” it said.

On Obama’s New Delhi visit in January, the U.S. and India reached a new nuclear deal that would give India access to civilian nuclear technology, breaking a deadlock that has stalled an agreement for years. Pakistan opposed the deal, saying it was detrimental to stability in the South Asia region.

“P.M. expressed Pakistan’s desire to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group [a multinational group that seeks to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons],” Sharif’s office said of the call.

India and Pakistan are both nuclear-armed in addition to operating civilian atomic plants. They have fought two wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which both countries administer in part but claim in full.

Recent exchanges of fire across the de facto border, known as the Line of Control (LoC) have killed more than two dozen civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes on both sides.

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