US urges Pakistan, Afghanistan to resolve differences


Washington—Ruling out any mediatory role for itself in the ongoing tension between the two neighbours, the Obama Administration has urged Afghanistan and Pakistan to ratchet down the violence and begin a dialogue to reduce the tensions.
“We want both sides to ratchet down the violence and begin a dialogue to try to reduce the tensions, keep the crossing open, and have it done peaceably,” the State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.
Separate and distinct from that, Kirby said the US still believed that the right approach is an Afghan-led reconciliation process.
“We continue to support (Afghan) President (Ashraf) Ghani as he continues to try to get that process back on track. Now what effect the border clashes are having on reconciliation, I don’t know,” he said in response to a question.
“I haven’t seen any practical effect of it to date. These clashes have only just popped up in recent days. But that aside, we still want to see the reconciliation process move forward,” Kirby said as he ruled out the US jumping in as a mediator between the two countries.
“We’ve not taken a mediation role, and we’ve talked about this before. This is an Afghan-led process. We obviously support it and we want to see it succeed. We’ve expressed that support privately and publicly. But this is President Ghani’s initiative; he’s taking it on. We know he wants to get it back on track and we fully support him in that effort, but this is not for the United States mediating between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.
The United States, he said, wanted Kabul and Islamabad to work through these differences bilaterally, which they can do because they’ve done it in the past. “This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen clashes even at that crossing, and they have been able to work through it in the past and we’re absolutely confident that, with moral courage on both sides, they can continue to work through it,” he said.
Observing that the US did not want to see this kind of violence between those two sides, Kirby said there were plenty of shared threats and common challenges between Afghanistan and Pakistan and plenty of reasons for them to look for ways to work together, and quite frankly, they had.
“They have made some progress in terms of cooperation across that border and communication and in counterterrorism efforts,” he said.
Kirby said no one liked to see the clashes and the violence being seen in the last few days. But it was too soon to say what impact this would have on the reconciliation process.—NNI

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