U.S. leader backs bilateral talks between Islamabad and Delhi in phone call with Pakistani premier
Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday about his concerns over the situation in disputed Kashmir region, Islamabad’s foreign minister said, ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the issue.
The call comes a day after at least five people were killed in cross-border fire between India and Pakistan, amid heightened tensions between the rivals since New Delhi controversially ended the autonomous status of the portion of Kashmir it administers.
Skirmishes are frequent across the so-called Line of Control (LoC) that divides the territory, but the latest deaths came after Pakistan warned it was ready to respond to any Indian aggression. “Today [Khan] has talked to President Trump. Views were exchanged on the situation in the region and particularly the situation in Occupied Kashmir,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a press conference. A statement issued by the White House said Trump had urged Khan to engage with India.
“The president conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
Trump and Khan also discussed Afghanistan, where the U.S. is engaged in talks with the Taliban, and pledged to remain in constant contact moving forward, the minister added.
During a meeting with Khan in July, Trump said that Modi had asked him to help mediate the Kashmir dispute—a claim Delhi strenuously denied. India has always insisted the Kashmir issue can only be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan.