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India Pakistan talks are vital step to progress in Kashmir

February 25, 2010 1:05 PM

The first formal India Pakistan talks since the Mumbai attacks in 2008 are a vital step forward for moves to a lasting peaceful settlement in Kashmir, local Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne said at the European Parliament today.

The West Midlands MEP, a long time campaigner for justice in Kashmir, said the trip by the Pakistan foreign minister to Delhi today was an encouraging sign that the two nuclear powers were serious about restarting a comprehensive dialogue.

Liz Lynne said: "This is good news because there can be no progress to ending the continued injustice and conflict in Kashmir without dialogue that involves Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people.

"Kashmir has slipped out of the Western media spotlight which tends only to focus on Afghanistan, but the huge armed presence, continued human rights violations and injustice means the crisis in Kashmir remains as big a threat to regional and world peace as ever.

"Just yesterday there were further disputed reports of gunfire across the Line of Control between the two armies. It is very important that momentum is regained."

"As President of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Kashmir and as a member of the European Parliament's Delegation to Southern Asian Countries I am continuing to work for positive steps towards a just solution.

"The EU and its new high representative do have a role to play in promoting dialogue and confidence-building measures. I will be calling for Baroness Ashton and EU governments to do all they can to encourage these talks to lead to meaningful progress on the ground.

"Although violence has greatly declined in the territory since the peace treaty of 2004, progress and communications have been more difficult since the Mumbai terror attacks."