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Nawaz Sharif urges Barack Obama to raise Kashmir issue with India during Republic Day visit

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged US President Barack Obama to raise the Kashmir issue with the Narendra Modi government when he travels to India in January.

Sharif made the request when Obama telephoned the Pakistani PM to inform him about his decision to to attend India's Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest.

During the conversation, Sharif said an early resolution of the Kashmir issue would bring enduring peace, stability and economic cooperation to the south Asian region, said a statement from the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office on the discussions between the two leaders.

Sharif also recalled an invitation he extended to Obama last year in Washington and conveyed the expectation of the people of Pakistan to welcome the US President to the country sometime in the future.

Referring to his visit to India earlier this year - to attend the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sharif said it was aimed at taking ties between the two sides forward. He alleged that New Delhi subsequently took "unfortunate steps, including cancellation of Foreign Secretary-level talks" and "firing across the LoC resulting in civilian casualties" which showed that "India was averse to normalisation of relations with Pakistan."

The Pakistani PM said his country "remains open to the resumption of bilateral dialogue, the onus is on India to create a conducive environment in this regard."

"President Obama expressed his understanding for our position," the statement added.

The two leaders also discussed the regional situation with Sharif referring to the improvement of Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan as manifest in President Ashraf Ghani's recent visit to Islamabad.

President Obama appreciated Prime Minister Sharif's efforts in this regard and called it pivotal for the peace and stability in the region, the statement said.

Sharif recalled his warm and friendly meeting with the US President in Washington in October last year and their subsequent interaction at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague in March this year, it said.

Later, the White House also confirmed that President Obama had called Sharif on Friday. "I can confirm that the President did speak with PM (Prime Minister) Sharif," Mark Stroh, spokesman of the National Security Council, said.

"The President also assured the Prime Minister that he would undertake a visit to Pakistan at an early date, as soon as the situation normalises in the country," the statement said.

(With Agency inputs)

From Zee News

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