McCain-led U.S. team visits Pakistan for security talks

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A delegation of United States senate headed by Senator John McCain has urged both India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute through dialogue, besides highlighting that peace could not be established in Afghanistan without Pakistan's assistance.

McCain, who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, met with Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the Pakistani army chief of staff general Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Senator John McCain affirmed that peace in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region is not possible without the involvement of Pakistan.

Kashmir, ruled in part by India and Pakistan and claimed in entirety by both, is a hot-button issue between the nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought two of their three wars since independence from Britain over the territory.

Aziz stressed Pakistan's belief in Kashmir's right to self-determination in the meeting with the USA senators, the foreign ministry statement said.

Sartaj Aziz said that strategic partnership between Pakistan and USA was essential to bring peace and stability to the region and beyond.

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"The adviser (Aziz) said that Pakistan remained committed to supporting efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan".

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also called USA cooperation a "key factor" in security, as McCain agreed on the importance of coordination between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a military statement said. He stressed strengthened Pakistan-United States partnership to counter challenges.

"Pakistan has major importance for the U.S in South Asia".

Pakistan last week also reacted sharply when the US State Department on June 26 designated as a terrorist Syed Salahuddin, leader of the largest Kashmiri militant group fighting against Indian rule, accusing the US of acquiescing to the wishes of visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have faced ups and downs in recent years over what the Afghan government calls the dual role by Islamabad in tackling insurgent groups on its soil and not taking serious steps to help restore peace in Afghanistan.

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