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Kashmir issue 'ripe' for resolution: Bush

The US President's remarks comes ahead of a meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister and his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad on May 21.

world Updated: May 19, 2008 15:49 IST

Taking note of "major and significant developments" in the Indo-Pak ties, US President George W Bush has said the Kashmir issue is "ripe" for resolution.

The "Kashmir issue is ripe for solution", Bush was quoted as saying by Pakistani officials during a meeting he had on Sunday with Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum for the Middle East in Egypt.

Bush's remarks came ahead of a meeting between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on May 21 to review the composite dialogue process.

During the hour-long talks in the resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, Bush said he saw "major and significant developments" in Pakistan-India relations, but he did not elaborate.

He said he was happy to note that the two sides had made a lot of progress in their talks on Kashmir and for comprehensive peace in the region.

Briefing reporters after the Bush-Gilani talks, the Pakistan Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Finance Hina Rabbani Khar and Additional Foreign Secretary Zameer Akram said Bush had appreciated the dialogue process between India and Pakistan and said he had no doubts in his mind that Kashmir was "ripe for solution".

Khar said Pakistan's relations with neighbouring countries figured in the discussions between the two leaders, with specific focus on ties with India.

Khar quoted Bush as saying that it was the "right time for the resolution of the Kashmir issue".