Britain promises to help solve India-Pakistan row

Britain said Tuesday it stands ready to help normalizing relations between Pakistan and India.

"We, along with others in the international community, stand ready to help both countries to sustain the process of confidence-building and normalizing bilateral relations that have resulted intheir outstanding differences including Kashmir," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who Tuesday met with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, said in a statement.

"I hope both governments can quickly implement the steps on which they can immediately agree," Straw said. "It is important Pakistan and India work together to close the gap over which thereis less common ground."

Kasuri, who was expected to travel to Belgium to meet Chris Patten, the EU external affairs commissioner, and EU foreign policy representative Javier Solana, urged his country's reinstatement to the Commonwealth after his talks with Straw.

Pakistan had met the Commonwealth's requirements on the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and thus should be reinstated as a full member of the Commonwealth, Kasuri told reporters.

Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth after Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf came into power in 1999.

The Commonwealth, a 54-nation grouping of Britain and its former colonies, said in September that Pakistan would remain suspended until more was done.



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