Qureshi, Pompeo discuss Middle East situation

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Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington to discuss the situation in the Middle East and take up India’s continuing human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

Qureshi is on the final leg of his tri-state visit aimed at diffusing US-Iran tensions, as instructed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He informed Pompeo about the ongoing human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, saying eight million people in the occupied region have been “kept confined” through a curfew imposed by New Delhi for the past five months, a Foreign Office statement said.

See: India’s clampdown in occupied Kashmir has crossed 150 days — here’s everything you need to know

Qureshi noted that a communications blackout in the valley remains in place in order “to conceal the facts from the world’s view”.

“The dream of a ‘peaceful South Asia’ of the US and Pakistan cannot be realised until the Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with United Nations resolutions and through a plebiscite of eight million Kashmiris,” the FO quoted Qureshi as saying.

Tensions between Pakistan and India had spiked after New Delhi revoked occupied Kashmir’s special status in August last year.

Qureshi’s remarks come a day after the situation in occupied Kashmir was reviewed at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Prime Minister Imran had welcomed the UNSC meeting, vowing that Pakistan “will continue to provide moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people until they secure their inalienable right to self-determination”.

‘Pakistan desires peace’

Matters concerning the Pakistan-US relationship, bilateral cooperation and the regional situation were also discussed in the meeting.

During the talks, Qureshi briefed Pompeo about discussions held during his recent visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

He said that Pakistan desires peace and stability and is determined to play its role to defuse prevailing tensions in the region, according to the FO statement.

The foreign minister said it was due to Pakistan and the US’s joint efforts that the prospect of peace through a political settlement in Afghanistan is now on the horizon after four decades of conflict.

“Pakistan is fulfilling this joint responsibility for the Afghan peace process with sincerity of intent,” he said.

According to the FO, Pompeo appreciated Pakistan’s “sincere efforts” for the Afghan reconciliation and peace process and a peaceful neighbourhood.

Qureshi during the meeting emphasised the need to promote bilateral trade and investment “in order to give a practical shape to Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Donald Trump’s vision of comprehensive bilateral Pak-US relations”.