US should help resolve Kashmir dispute: Obama

2 November 2008
The Nation
Not Sepcified

Washington: The United States should help resolve the decades-old Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India as part of efforts to deal with the problem of militancy in the region, Democratic presidential candidate has said.'We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants.' He said in a television interview a couple of days ahead of November 4 presidential election. Obama said the United States would respect democracy in Pakistan and pledged coherent cooperation with the democratic government in efforts to root out terrorism from the Pak-Afghan border region.'The most important thing we are going to have to do with respect to Afghanistan, is actually deal with Pakistan. And we have got work with the newly elected government there in a coherent way that says, terrorism is now a threat to you. Extremism is a threat to you.' 'And, we've got to say to the Pakistani people, we are not just going to fund a dictator in order for us to feel comfortable with who we are dealing with. We are going to respect democracy. But, we do have expectations in terms of being a partner against terrorism,' he told Rachel Meadow on MSNBC news channel.Latest polls have been showing Senator Obama seven to nine points ahead of his Republican rival Senator John McCain, who is trailing behind even in some key red states, considered traditional Republican strongholds.Meanwhile, a prominent US-based Kashmiri leader has welcomed Obama's 'courageous words' in underscoring the need to resolve the Kashmir dispute.In a statement, Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmir American Council (KAC), he referred to another statement on Kashmir made by Obama more than a month ago.In an interview to Journal Arms Control Today Sept 25, Obama said: 'I will continue support of the ongoing Indian-Pakistani efforts to resolve the Kashmir problem in order to address the political roots of the arms race between India and Pakistan.'Fai said Obama's statements are in 'full conformity' with the previous statements made by officials of the US administration. Dr Fai reiterated that the current massive, multi-cultural and multi-religious grassroots movement in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir is 'bravely non-violent.' 'This praiseworthy development of non-violence needs to be supported and acknowledged', Dr Fai said. He stated that the protests and marches being organised in Kashmir are the embodiment of people speaking for themselves, refusing to be spoken for.