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'There's Always a Solution': At Meeting With Imran Khan, Trump Offers to Mediate on Kashmir Again

This is the second time that Trump has made such a statement despite India categorically rejecting any scope for third-party mediation on Kashmir.


Updated:September 24, 2019, 2:04 PM IST
'There's Always a Solution': At Meeting With Imran Khan, Trump Offers to Mediate on Kashmir Again
US President Donald Trump meets Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York. (Reuters)

New Delhi: US President Donald Trump once again offered to mediate in resolving the Kashmir issue with Pakistan, saying that "there is always a solution".

"I am a good mediator. I will mediate if there is assent from other side," Trump said on Monday after meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York. He stressed that he has good relations with both Khan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I have very good relationship with Modi and Khan. I can be a very good arbitrator," the US president said.

"If I can help, I will certainly help," Trump said, describing the Kashmir issue as a "complex" one which has been going on for a long time. "If both (Pakistan and India) want, I am ready to do it," he said, a day after attending 'Howdy, Modi' rally in Houston, where he shared the stage with Modi and displayed a close friendship and a common vision on fighting terrorism.

Trump praised the 'Howdy, Modi' mega rally in presence of Khan and said he has heard a "very aggressive statement" by Modi. "It was very well received within the room," Trump said, referring to the gathering of 50,000 people at the NRG stadium in Houston.

At the rally on Sunday, Modi hit out at Pakistan for its support to terrorism and said India's decision to nullify Article 370 has caused trouble to those who cannot handle their country as he called for a "decisive battle" against terrorism.

During his press interaction alongside Khan, Trump repeatedly snubbed Pakistani reporters and on one occasion even asking one of the journalists whether he is part of the Pakistani delegation. "Where do you find reporters like these," Trump asked Khan in response to a question posed by a Pakistani journalist on Kashmir.

Prime Minister Khan, who has declared himself an ambassador of Kashmiris, on Sunday briefed US lawmakers, scholars, human rights activists and the media on the repercussions of India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

This is the third time that Trump has made such a statement despite India categorically stating on several occasions that the abrogation of Article 370 was its "internal matter", even as Pakistan has gone all-out to drum up international support on the issue.

In July, when Trump and Imran has met at the White House for the first time, the US president had claimed that Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue when they met in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit last month.

"If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know," Trump said in response to a question, adding that he is ready to help, if the two countries ask for it. "I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said, 'would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?' I said, 'where?' (Modi said) 'Kashmir'," Trump had said.

Soon after US president's earlier statement, Ministry of External Affairs had denied his claims said that no such request was made by Modi.

During Modi's meeting with President Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France last month, the prime minister had categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.

"All the issues between India and Pakistan are bilateral in nature, and we don't want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally," Modi had said. On his part, Trump had said he and Modi spoke about Kashmir "at great length" during the G7 Summit and he feels that both India and Pakistan can resolve it on their own.

His comments on Kashmir in the French city of Biarritz was seen as an apparent backtracking from his earlier comments, offering mediation.

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