US hopes Pakistan, India to continue talks

Islamabad, Jan 10 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the phone late on Saturday and expressed the hope that Pakistan and India will continue talks despite the recent attack on an Indian airbase.

Pakistan and India agreed last month to resume “comprehensive dialogue” after a break of nearly seven years. However, the militants attack on the Pathankot airbase has raised doubts if the talks would be held.

Pakistan Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Saturday that the schedule of talks between foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India is still intact, Xinhua reported.

Aziz told reporters in Lahore that the two countries had agreed to hold talks on January 15.

He said India has neither confirmed nor cancelled the scheduled meeting so far.

Kerry rang Prime Minister Sharif amid speculations that the talks depend on action by Pakistani authorities on the leads India has shared with them about the attack.

The US secretary of state hoped in telephonic conversation with the Pkistani prime minister that “talks between both countries will continue despite the fact that terrorists have tried to thwart it”, officials said in Islamabad.

“Continuation of India-Pakistan talks are needed in the interest of regional stability and the leadership role by both PMs is required to ensure continuous dialogue,” a statement from Sharif’s office quoted Kerry as saying.

Sharif told Kerry that Pakistan is “swiftly carrying out investigations in a transparent manner and will bring out the truth”.

“World will see our effectiveness and sincerity in this regard,” Sharif was quoted as telling the US secretary of state.

He said Pakistan is eliminating terrorism on its soil and will not allow anyone to use Pakistani soil to conduct terror operations abroad, adding all state institutions are fully committed to eliminating terrorism.

“The US applauds prime minister’s leadership role in such difficult environment, which was the exact leadership needed in this situation” Kerry said.

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