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Holbrooke’s brief does not include Kashmir

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The United States administration has once again made it clear that the brief of President Barack Obama’s Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s mandate does not include Kashmir. It indicated that even during heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, as had happened after the Mumbai terror attacks, Mr. Holbrooke’s brief would remain focused on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At a State Department briefing in Washington on Wednesday, its acting spokesperson Robert Wood said, “His [the Special Envoy’s] mandate is to go out and try to help bring stability to Afghanistan, working closely with Pakistan to try to deal with the situation in the Federally-Administered Tribal Area region.”

“With regard to Kashmir, I think our policy is well-known. I think India has some very clear views as to what it wants to do vis-À-vis dealing with the Kashmir issue, as well as the Pakistanis. But with regard to Ambassador Holbrooke’s mission, as I said, it’s to deal strictly with the Pakistan-Afghanistan situation,” he said.

PTI reports from Washington:

It was in America’s interest to see that the Kashmir issue was resolved but Washington can only encourage India and Pakistan to work towards a solution, Lee Hamilton, vice-chairman of the 9/11 commission and now president of prestigious Washington-based think tank Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, said on the popular Charlie Rose show on PBS channel.

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