United States news: The United States on Thursday (March 9) reiterated that it supports constructive dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve long-standing disputes. In a US State Department press briefing, spokesperson Ned Price said, "We support constructive dialogue. We support diplomacy between India and Pakistan to resolve long-standing disputes. We are a partner, and we are willing to support that process in any way that they deem appropriate. However, Price stated that the decisions is to be made by India and Pakistan themselves."
But ultimately these are decisions that India and Pakistan themselves are going to have to make...It is not for the United States to determine the modalities or the way in which India and Pakistan engage one another, said the US State Department spokesperson. Relations between the two countries have been precarious for many years with regard to issues of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, even as Islamabad has been seeking the restoration of Article 370 for the former Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for any talks.
Pakistan on SCO meeting:
Pakistan on Thursday decided to skip the meeting of Chief Justices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) scheduled in New Delhi from March 10-12, reported The Express Tribune." As one of the active members of the SCO, Pakistan regularly participates in all SCO activities and constructively contributes to their outcomes," Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement.
Pakistan is the only country now that will be skipping the SCO Chief Justice meet hosted by India. All other members, including new member, Iran will be attending the meet in person.India extended the invitation to the Pakistani chief justice, but Islamabad took the decision at the last minute about the country's top adjudicator, reported The Express Tribune. India has also invited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for the SCO foreign ministers meeting to be held in Goa in May this year. Pakistan has yet to decide whether the foreign minister will attend.
"Regarding participation in the upcoming SCO Council of Foreign Ministers, as I have said earlier, the matter is under consideration and, as and when this decision is taken, we will share it with everyone," she told reporters at the weekly news briefing. India will also host the SCO summit meeting this year. It remains to be seen whether Pakistan will send its foreign minister in May or if the prime minister will join the SCO leaders later in India. Relations between the two countries have been precarious for many years with regard to issues of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, even as Islamabad has been seeking the restoration of Article 370.
(With agencies inputs)