US shouldn`t mediate but facilitate Indo-Pak process: Omar

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said he expected US President Barack Obama or the US administration not to mediate but to facilitate the dialogue process between India and Pakistan.

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2010, 14:37 PM IST

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said he expected US President Barack Obama or the US administration not to mediate but to facilitate the
dialogue process between India and Pakistan.

"What role I would like to see President Obama or any US administration to play is the one that they have been so far playing from time to time -- that is to facilitate the process
between India and Pakistan," Omar said to a question at a press briefing here.

"We are extremely sensitive to anything that appears even close to mediation and that obviously is not acceptable," he said, adding but from time to time, the US administration as a friend came forward and facilitated when it was required.

The chief minister said obviously the most high-profile intervention was after Kargil intrusions when President Bill Clinton had summoned Pak premier Nawaz Sharif to Washington.

"So really if the US wants to help, then they can perhaps try to get Pakistan to see things from our point of view and help the process from behind the scene," he said.

"We do not require any sort of overt mediation and that is too much to ask...but, we can at least expect that they do not look at India through the prism of Af-Pak policy. I know
it is difficult because they have troops serving in Afghanistan, but we have our own considerations," Omar said.

The chief minister said that situation should not be seen through the prism of Pakistan.

In reply to another question whether he had met and invited President Obama and his wife to Kashmir, Omar said, "I did have the opportunity to share some moments with Obama and his wife and during the course of which I was able to tell them a little bit about Jammu and Kashmir.

"I also asked them to visit J&K at some point in future. Beyond that it was an informal interaction and I do not think it would be appropriate to say anything else."

Omar was seen chatting for a while with Obama and his wife Michelle at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s private dinner in honour of US President in Delhi last night.

When Omar`s attention was drawn to the fact that Obama has not made any reference to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir for last 20 years, the chief minister said that he thinks media in particular has been too hasty in judging the American President`s visit.

The first day was about business, the second day was more about culture and India`s youth and the third day is the main day of his visit with the address to Parliament, meetings in Hyderabad House and other bilateral matters, he said.

Once Obama leaves India for Indonesia that will be the time to pass a judgement on whether he said enough or did not say enough, Omar said and added that "our TV channels are very quick to pass judgements even before the substantial part of
his visit has been concluded."

Asked what he expected in the joint statement, the chief minister said there is a lot that the two countries can say, particularly about terrorism and the source of that terrorism
and what can be done to stamp it out.

J&K has been the largest victim of that terrorism during last 20 years and clearly there is commonality of interest between India and United States to see the reduction
and ultimately the elimination of terrorism, he said.

Asked about his reaction to Chief of Army Staff`s concern that aid to Pakistan by US was being used for instigating terror in Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said he did not have
information to suggest one way or the other on this issue as it is more of a concern of the Army Chief than his.

However, if the United States is going to give aid to Pakistan, it is in their interest to ensure that Pakistan uses it for the purpose which it was intended for, he said.

To another query on Obama`s suggestion on India-Pakistan engagements, he said, "I think, if one understands what he is trying to suggest, it is basically with the line of policy of government of India which is a comprehensive dialogue and not just tackling one issue but all issues."

He said the government of India has always been saying that J&K is a issue that needs to be discussed with Pakistan and it cannot be taken into isolation from "other
issues that we have to discuss".

He said as the easier issues can be tackled, more confidence can be built into the system and the credibility gap that exists in the dialogue process can be eased and
obviously it will be stronger to tackle the important issue like J&K.

What President Obama said is based on sound logic, Omar said adding, "it may not make sense to our friends from across the border because they say first Kashmir and everything else later."

PTI