US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has applauded the Indo-Pak leadership for reviving peace talks despite opposition to it in their countries, while ruling out mediation on the issue of Kashmir.
At a round table with Pakistani journalists in Islamabad last week, Clinton said US mediation on the Kashmir was not a possibility as for that to happen both sides need to agree, which is not the case now.
The US, she said, stands ready to encourage the dialogue between India and Pakistan that is absolutely in both countries' interests.
She said she appreciated the leadership of the two countries for going ahead with the talks despite opposition.
"I really give the leadership in both countries high marks because it is not popular. They are attacked in the press, they're attacked by organisations," she said.
But to a question on the prospect of former President and her husband Bill Clinton assuming the role of Special US Envoy for Pakistan and India to resolve Kashmir, she said: "Well, in order to have anyone play that role, both sides have to agree. And that has not been the case as of now".
She said the US would like to encourage more dialogue between the two neighbours.
"So there are many ramifications to the longstanding disputes over Kashmir and other issues between India and Pakistan. So even though the officials of both governments have been meeting, we want to encourage much more dialogue," Clinton said according to the transcripts made available by the State Department.
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on July 15 and the talks ended on an acrimonious note with sharp differences coming out in the open at their joint press conference.
"We should work as hard as we can to encourage the leadership of Pakistan and India to persevere despite the attacks in both countries," Clinton said.
She observed that that it would be in the interest of long-term security and economic benefits to try to resolve bilateral disputes.
Favouring a resumption of ties, she said: "I happen to think, on balance, it's even more in Pakistan's interests, because opening markets - every businessman I speak with in Pakistan kind of whispers to me, 'Please, can't we get the markets open, because I want to go compete inside India'," Clinton said in response to a question".