US welcomes Pakistan, India's joint statement on LoC ceasefire; urges two countries to hold direct talks on Kashmir
- We encourage continued efforts to improve communication between the two sides and to reduce tensions and violence along the LoC, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.
- "Pakistan is an important partner with whom we share many interests," the spokesman said.
The United States of America has welcomed the recent agreement between Pakistan and India in which both sides have agreed to maintain strict observance of a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).
"We welcome the joint statement between India and Pakistan that the two countries have agreed to maintain strict observance of a ceasefire along the Line of Control starting on February 25th," US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday.
He further said that we encourage continued efforts to improve communication between the two sides and to reduce tensions and violence along the LoC. When asked by a journalist to what extent, if any, did the US play a role in helping broker this new ceasefire agreement, the spokesman replied that the US has been very clear that it condemns the terrorists who seek to infiltrate across the LoC.
"I think what I can say and what you’ve heard me say from this podium and others from this administration say is that we had called on the parties to reduce tensions along the Line of Control by returning to that 2003 ceasefire agreement," Price said.
The spokesman was also asked how the Joe Biden administration intends to stay neutral between Pakistan and India. "Well, Pakistan is an important partner with whom we share many interests. We, as I said, have been clear in terms of this issue," Price answered.
He further said that Pakistan has an important role to play when it comes to Afghanistan and what takes place across its other border. "So clearly we will be paying close attention, and we urge the Pakistanis to play a constructive role in all of these areas of mutual interest, including in Afghanistan, including with Kashmir, including with our other shared interests," the US State Department spokesman added.
On Thursday, a special hotline contact was established between Pakistan and India, through which discussions on LoC and all sectors were held in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere.
Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the LoC and all other sectors with effect from midnight 24/25 February 2021.