Sharif, Modi may not meet in US

Islamabad, Sep 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may not hold bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, though they will be in New York next week for the UN General Assembly, a media report said on Tuesday.

A bilateral meeting between the two leaders “is not on the cards”, diplomatic sources told Dawn in Washington.

When asked at a recent briefing if Washington would try to persuade Sharif and Modi to meet in New York next week, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said: “These are issues for the two to resolve together, and that’s what we continue to encourage, a resumption of dialogue between the leaders of both India and Pakistan.”

Diplomatic sources told Dawn that despite its reluctance to get publicly involved in India-Pakistan disputes, the US was “actively involved” in reducing tensions between the two neighbours.

The media report cited sources as saying that the US and other permanent members of the UN Security Councils are urging both Indian and Pakistani leaders not to be confrontational in their addresses at the General Assembly.

India doesn’t want Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue, but there is an understanding in Washington that no Pakistani leader can afford to do so.

“Kashmir is very important. It has to be discussed,” said a senior Pakistani diplomat when asked if Sharif would raise the Kashmir issue in his address.

Pakistan is likely to raise the Kashmir issue “more forcefully than ever before in the recent past”, a diplomatic source was quoted as saying.

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