Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday, Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif on Friday said he was looking forward to it to make a “new beginning” and re-engage with India in a “substantive and purposeful dialogue”.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Sharif also raked up the Kashmir issue, calling for a solution of the problem in accordance with the U.N. resolutions.

“I am looking forward to meeting Mr. Singh here in New York to make a new beginning. We have a solid basis to do that. Pakistan and India can prosper together; and the entire region would benefit from our cooperation,” Mr. Sharif said.

Expressing regret over wastage of resources, the Prime Minister said, “Our two countries have wasted massive resources in an arms race. We could have used those resources for the economic well-being of our people. We still have that opportunity,” he affirmed.

Raising the Kashmir issue, Mr. Sharif said the U.N. “must continue to remain attentive to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and the full realisation of the right to self-determination of its people. Their suffering cannot be brushed under the carpet because of power politics.” The U.N., he said, was required at this point to play “a critical role” in resolving “festering disputes”.

“As in the past, Pakistan calls upon the international community to give an opportunity to Kashmiris to decide their future peacefully, in accordance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir was presented to the Security Council in January 1948; and yet the issue remains unresolved after nearly seven decades,” he said.