UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres concerned over potential India-Pak escalation, appeals for resolution through dialogue

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Published: September 11, 2019 4:31:53 PM

India and Pakistan indulged in a war of words at the UNHRC meet on Tuesday. India rebutted Pakistan claims that human rights were being violated in Jammu and Kashmir.

KashmirYoungsters play carrom at a deserted street during restrictions in Srinagar. (PTI Photo)

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been high since Narendra Modi-led government revoked the special status provided to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. On Wednesday, the United Nations said that it was worried about potential escalation between the two sides over Kashmir. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson said that the they have had contacts with both the countries. “Our position on mediation has always remained the same. Secretary-General has had contacts both with government of Pakistan and govenment of India,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson of Guterres told the media on Wednesday.

Guterres had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit last month in Biarritz, France. The UN Secretary General has also been in touch with Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. He also met Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN Maleeha Lodhi on Wednesday to discuss the Kashmir issue. Pakistan had raised the issue during the 42nd meet of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) claiming that India was violating the basic rights of the people of Kashmir.

During his daily press briefing, Dujarric said that Guterres had appealed to both the sides to resolve the issue through dialogue. “His message to all of them has been the same, both publicly and privately, that he remains very concerned about any potential escalation between India and Pakistan over the situation. He appeals to both sides to deal with the issue through dialogue,” Dujarric said.

Both PM Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan would attend the UN General Assembly session later this month. On being asked whether Guterres would mediate between the two paties during the meet, Dujarric said that UN’s position on mediation remains the same. “You know, the position… our position on mediation has, as a matter of principle, has always remained the same,” he said.

The United Nations in its policy document on mediation states that it would act as a mediator only if any of the parties requests them to help resolve the dispute. It also states that the UN would mediate only if all the parties agreed to the request and that the final decision would still rest solely with the parties involved.

India and Pakistan indulged in a war of words at the UNHRC meet on Tuesday. India rebutted Pakistan claims that human rights were being violated in Jammu and Kashmir.

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