US welcomes Modi, Sharif meeting to reduce tensions

Washington, July 10 (IANS) The US has welcomed the upcoming meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif saying that a rise in tensions in the regions was in nobody’s interest.

The US welcomed Friday’s meeting between the two leaders on sidelines of SCO Summit in Ufa, Russia, State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Thursday in response to a question.

“And we also welcome any steps that both countries can take to try to reduce the tensions,” he said. “That’s been our longstanding position.”

Kirby recalled that Secretary of State John Kerry had a couple of weeks ago said “we want to see the tensions reduced, and we want to see these issues resolved bilaterally between the two countries.”

“It’s in nobody’s interest for the tensions to rise and to increase, and for the tensions in the region to become less stable in many ways than they already are,” he said.

Kirby declined to comment on Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Asif’s reported remark that “If we need to use nuclear weapons for our survival, we will.”

“I didn’t see those comments and I can’t speak for how leaders in either country are going to make announcements on their bilateral relationship – or, frankly, their bilateral tensions,” he said.

“You mention both want peace; that’s certainly what we want as well,” Kirby said. “There’s an awful lot of kids living in that part of the world who I think everybody wants to make sure they have a better future.

“And I think that’s what we would hope the leaders in both countries are also trying to pursue,” he said. “But ultimately these are issues that we want to see them solve bilaterally.”

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