Russia rules out role in resolving Kashmir between



Islamabad: Russia on Thursday ruled out playing a role in resolving the Kashmir problem, saying India and Pakistan are capable of settling their outstanding issues themselves.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said India and Pakistan are capable of settling issues though bilateral discussions without outside help.

India and Pakistan were in touch and talking to each other, Lavrov noted while speaking through an interpreter during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

"We discussed this issue. We welcome steps Pakistan and India have taken on confidence-building measures. Both countries are capable of settling their issues on their own without any foreign assistance," Lavrov said.

The two countries have "established diplomatic traditions" and the ongoing contacts between India and Pakistan are a "good" development, he said.

The two Foreign Ministers, who addressed the media after delegation-level talks, said there was convergence of views on regional and international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya and the Iranian nuclear programme.

Lavrov backed Khar's contention that US drone strikes were a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

Responding to a question related to the US drone campaign targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda elements in Pakistan's tribal areas, Khar said her government's position in private and public dealings with the US on this issue were the same.

"If the objective of drone strikes is to end terrorism, then Pakistan ascribes to that objective... However, the ways and means that we use to achieve those objectives must be legal, lawful and not counter-productive," she said.

PTI