No regional peace without Pakistan, US senator McCain says in visit

US wants end to violence in Kashmir, says McCain

US officials say they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, after the review the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, due in mid-July, where some 8,800 USA troops remain to support the Western-backed government.

The U.S. delegation has arrived in Islamabad at a time when relations between Pakistan and the Trump administration are under pressure.

A delegation of bipartisan U.S. senators today met Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and "appreciated" Pakistan's contributions in the fight against terrorism, underlining the need to forge closer bilateral cooperation in confronting peace and security challenges in the region.

Senator McCain said that the United States policy regarding the Kashmir issue hasn't changed, adding that the United States wants an end to violence in the territory.

The move instantly invited ire from Islamabad, which rejected the US decision, saying the 70-year-old indigenous struggle of Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir remains legitimate.

Other members of the delegation included Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator David Perdue and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

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It said Aziz briefed the delegation on Pakistani security forces' success against terrorism and informed them "that the terrorist networks have been dismantled and their sanctuaries eliminated". "The U.S. will continue to pursue its [traditional] Kashmir policy", McCain was quoted as saying by state-run Pakistan Television, citing Foreign Ministry officials.

John McCain has assured to regularly visit Pakistan to strengthen ties between both the countries. The advisor made it clear that Pakistan wanted all issues with India to be resolved through talks including the Kashmir issue.

The adviser underscored the significance of the longstanding cooperation between the two countries and the need to make this partnership diverse and multidimensional.

Aziz, who is Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs because PM Nawaz Sharif holds the Foreign Ministry portfolio himself, said that the strategic partnership between Pakistan and the United States was "was critical to achieve peace and stability in the region and beyond". "They agreed with the need for Pakistan and the USA to forge closer cooperation in confronting the peace and security challenges in the region and beyond", an official handout said.

In the meeting, he also raised concern over the alleged "human rights violations" in Kashmir and "international community s silence" on the issue.

The advisor said Islamabad firmly believes in the legitimacy of the Kashmir cause and supports the peaceful struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination, the radio reported.

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