September 23, 2019 / 5:43 PM / in a month

Trump hopes India and Pakistan 'come together' on Kashmir, Khan asks for U.S. help

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he hoped India and Pakistan could come together to resolve their differences over Kashmir, as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan urged Trump to use U.S. influence to help end India’s “siege” of the volatile territory.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the "Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom" event at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump and Khan met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Trump is to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week.

The president reiterated to Khan as they began their meeting with reporters present that he would be willing to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan. Both countries rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full. Two of the three wars they have fought have been over it.

“If I can help, I’d like to help,” said Trump. “I want everyone to be treated well.”

Khan told Trump Kashmir was facing a humanitarian issue with millions under siege. He asked Trump to implore Modi to lift the siege, saying the crisis could get much worse.

“At least lift the siege,” said Khan.

He said Trump heads the most powerful country in the world and that the United States has a responsibility to use its influence on the United Nations Security Council.

“We look to the U.S. to put out flames in the world,” he said.

Trump noted that Modi in his speech had made “a very aggressive statement” before more than 50,000 Indian-Americans at a “Howdy Modi” event on Sunday in Houston.

“I will say it was very well-received within the room, the statement itself. But it was a very aggressive statement and I hope that they are going to be able to come together, India and Pakistan, to do something that is really smart and good for both. There’s always a solution and I really believe there’s a solution to that,” said Trump.

As for Afghanistan, Trump said U.S.-led forces have hit the Taliban hard over the past two weeks since a peace initiative collapsed.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown

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