Friday, February 24, 2006

President Bush On Mediation – What Did He Say?!?

In an interview reported in Pakistan’s Daily Times, President Bush was asked about proposals for mediating between India and Pakistan:

Q: Mr. President, in your speech, you talked about the Kashmir dispute and you said that you would like India and Pakistan to take bilateral steps to resolve the dispute. Pakistan has made certain proposals, but they are not reciprocated by India. And it seems that this bilateral process is not going anywhere. There’s need for a third-party mediation or some sort of help. Do you have any specific proposals for that?

Bush: First, I’d like to make sure I clarify my statement for all to read. America supports a solution that is acceptable to all sides — since you’re probably the only person in the room that paid attention to my speech. In the speech, as you know, I said “to both sides”. The language should be “all sides”, because it recognises [sic] that a solution must be acceptable to India, Pakistan and those living within Kashmir. Our position is one that says a dispute that has been so long in a nation’s history can best be resolved when two nations make the determination to sit down and come up with a solution that is acceptable to all sides. Of course, during my discussions, I will encourage that dialogue to go forward. I’m convinced that history changes, and as history changes, attitudes can change, circumstances change, and that we have a possibility to see this issue resolved by strong and courageous leaders. I’m pleased to see the amount of trade that’s taking place between India and Pakistan. It’s a substantial increase from July of ‘04 to July of ‘05. I thought that the — the new transportation routes between India and Pakistan are hopeful signs. And so the role of the United States, in our judgment, is one that will help lead to a settlement that is acceptable to all sides.”


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