Pakistan PM tells Indian counterpart he’s ready to talk

In this Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, photo released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, visits the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Khan, a former cricketer, is on a tour of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of his first overseas trip since taking office. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, seeking to resolve outstanding disputes between the two nuclear-armed nations, including the issue of the divided region of Kashmir, an official said Thursday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted that Khan’s letter reciprocated Indian Premier Narendra Modi’s call earlier this month for “meaningful and constructive engagement.”

Khan conceded that relations between Pakistan and India are challenging but said issues must be resolved peacefully.

“We owe it to our people, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he wrote.

Khan said Pakistan is ready to discuss the issue of terrorism, a top priority for India. He also asked that the two countries’ foreign ministers meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month.

Raveesh Kumar, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman, said in his briefing Thursday that Indian and Pakistani diplomats will work out the details of the meeting between foreign ministers.

“I can confirm that at Pakistan’s request we have decided that our foreign ministers will meet in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA,” he said.

The development is an encouraging sign for restarting stalled talks between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors. Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, divided between the two countries but sought by each in its entirety.


Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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