Kashmir key to peace in South Asia: Qureshi24 September 2010
NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday 'the United States, as the world leader, has special responsibility towards finding a just and peaceful solution of Kashmir'. 'It would also be critical for our joint efforts to contain and eradicate terrorism' Mr Qureshi said at a meeting of the Asia Society. He said 'It was heartening to hear President Obama offering hope on the Palestinian question. The international community has rightly recognised that a just solution of the Palestinian question will bring peace to the Middle East.' He said that durable peace in South Asia will remain elusive without a just solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Mr Qureshi pointed out that peaceful Kashmiri youths, children and women were being killed by Indian security forces. Since June this year, he added, more than a hundred Kashmiris had been killed in cold blood. But, he said, 'occupation and persecution cannot kill Kashmiri spirit'. They are demanding their right to self-determination. Their voice cannot be suppressed. Mr Qureshi said 'It is time the international community should realise the seriousness of the situation; and take practical steps to cure this festering sore of South Asia'. Speaking about US-Pakistan relationship, the foreign minister said the Strategic Dialogue, elevated to ministerial level early this year, had infused a new vigour in relations. In a year, this new partnership has made tangible headway. 'The relationship, now, is multi-dimensional. It has institutional underpinnings that were hitherto missing.' He said that over the course of the year, two sessions of expanded Strategic Dialogue had helped bring into focus common objectives and means to address them. 'Nearly all of the 13 sectoral tracks under the Strategic Dialogue have made appreciable progress and set achievable benchmarks.'