Kashmiri leader welcomes UN chief's call for India-Pakistan dialogue on Kashmir
NEW YORK: A prominent Kashmiri leader Tuesday welcomed United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres call to India and Pakistan to address the decades-old Kashmir issue through dialogue, as skirmishes between troops of the two countries escalated along the Line of Control in the disputed region.
At the same time, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary general of the World Affairs Forum, said in a statement that Kashmir is a UN-recognized dispute and that it's the UN chief's duty to push the two nuclear-armed countries towards a comprehensive settlement that would bring peace and stability in South Asia.
Fai was responding to a statement made by the UN secretary-general's spokesman on Monday that Gueterres cannot mediate to resolve the Kashmir dispute unless all parties agree to it. Pakistan says it would welcome mediation by the UN secretary-general, but India rejects it.
"The people of Kashmir still believe that there cannot be a better agency than the (UN) secretary-general of the United Nations himself to mediate or facilitate between the parties concerned," Fai said.
"The secretary-general has no ambition to assert dominance, while great powers do. Mediation by the secretary-general would be free from the ambitions that characterize individual initiative. The secretary-general is under no obligation to please any particular power or particular set of powers or groups. Yes, there will be resistance from India, but if India was persuaded that it would also gain by a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute, its negativity may not be insurmountable."
On Monday, the UN Secretary-General's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said that in principle good offices of the UN chief are always available for mediation, but everyone needs to agree on involving the world body.
About escalating tensions between India and Pakistan due to ongoing skirmishes and firing along the border, Dujarric said, "We're obviously aware. We're following this... what's been going on, really for the last 10 days."
Asked why the Secretary-General is not so keen to involve himself in this crisis, the spokesman said, "In principle good offices of Guterres are always available for mediation, but everyone needs to agree on involving the UN. That is true of any mediation effort."