By Arul Louis
New York, Sep 23 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said on Monday he is willing to mediate on Kashmir, but only if both sides will accept it.
Answering a reporter’s question before his meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said his offer to mediate “will always stand.”
“If I can help I will always do that,” he said and that it will, however, depend on the two sides agreeing to it.
“I am ready willing and able,” he added.
Asked if he trusted Pakistan given its terrorism problem, Trump said: “I trust this gentleman right here and I do trust Pakistan.”
He added, “I have a lot of Pakistani friends in New York. Great negotiators by the way.”
Trump said that in dealing with terrorism, “I’ve heard they made great progress.”
When Khan spoke of the problems his country has with Iran, Afghanistan and India, Trump said lightheartedly: “He lives in a very friendly neighbourhood.”
Khan said that he wanted to bring up the Kashmir problem in private with Trump.
He said: “It’s a humanitarian issue. If you were to meet him (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) now I would have asked to at least lift the siege”, referring to the curfew.
“I honestly feel that this crisis would get worse,” he added.
He said that the US can do something at the Security Council to bring Indian and Pakistan together to discuss Kashmir and end what he described as a “the humanitarian suffering “.
In dealing with Afghanistan and Taliban, Trump said that Khan has been “very helpful.”
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)