Musharraf asks Iran to mediate with India
24 December 2002
The Hindustan Times
Islamabad: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has asked his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Khatami to mediate between Pakistan and India on the issue of Kashmir. ''We appreciate the efforts of Iran to reduce the tension between Pakistan and India,'' Musharraf told Khatami at a dinner held late yesterday in honour of the first official visit by the Iranian head of state to Pakistan.''We hope that you will use your good relations (with the Indian leaders) to convince India to agree to solve the conflict in Kashmir on the basis of... The wishes of the Kashmiri people.A few hours before Musharraf''s request, the Iranian President - who will also make an official visit to India in January - had said that Iran hoped to be able to play ''a positive role'' in reducing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.Khatami started a three day visit to Pakistan on Monday, the first official visit by an Iranian president to Pakistan since 1992.Regarding Afghanistan, Musharraf said both Pakistan and Iran had suffered greatly from the decades of war and political instability in their common neighbour.''Our two countries for the past twenty years have accommodated the greatest number of Afghan refugees. The return of a lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan are not only in the interests of the Afghan people, but also in the national interest of Pakistan and Iran,'' he said.Commenting on the Iraq crisis, he said that ''Pakistan was opposed to a unilateral military attack'' by the United States.