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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

US encourages India, Pakistan dialogue

IANS  Washington, August 08, 2013
First Published: 10:45 IST(8/8/2013) | Last Updated: 10:47 IST(8/8/2013)

Expressing concern over violence on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, the US has said it continuesto encourage India and Pakistan to have a dialogue as the best step to resolve issues between them.

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"We're concerned about any violence, as always, along the Line of Control," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday when asked about tension on the LoC following the killing of five Indian soldiers in an ambush.

"We understand that the governments of India and Pakistan are in contact over the issue, and we continue to encourage, of course, further dialogue, and we think that's the best step to resolve," she said.

Asked whether Kashmir issue should be included in the India-Pakistan, Psaki repeated as she did Tuesday that the US "policy has not changed."

"We still believe that these discussions and negotiations should take place with a dialogue between India and Pakistan," she said in response to question whether India should take action against Pakistan over the attack on Indian soldiers.

Assked if the tension with if tension with India would distract Pakistan's attention from the fight against Al Qaeda and other terror outfits, Psaki said: "Well, we're encouraging them to continue their dialogue, and we're hopeful that that will take place. Beyond that, I'm not going to look into a crystal ball."

In response to another question, the spokesperson said US has "a great deal of cooperation on counterterrorism of all kinds with Pakistan, and that will continue."

However, Psaki would not spell out the kinds of cooperation US has with Pakistan nor would she give an evaluation of the cooperation extended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government on terrorism in the region.

"Certainly counterterrorism was a part of (that) discussion," during Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit to Islamabad, she said. "But we'll continue to work with them, and I can't give you an evaluation quite yet" as the Sharif government was too new.

"Our goal remains the same and has been consistent for a long time, which is to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda," Psaki said.

"As the result of the enormous pressure we've put on the group, we have eliminated all of Al Qaeda's senior leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan," she said.

"And because the current leaders of Al Qaeda core are so worried about their personal safety, they're far less able to plan attacks," Psaki added.

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