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China hopes UN meeting spurs India-Pakistan talks on Kashmir

File photo | The U.N. Security Council held a behind-the-doors meeting to discuss the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: Twitter/@UNDPPA

File photo | The U.N. Security Council held a behind-the-doors meeting to discuss the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: Twitter/@UNDPPA  

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Pakistan’s Foreign Minister said the fact that the Security Council discussed Kashmir for the second time in five months is a clear indication that the U.N.’s most powerful body recognizes the issue is on their agenda - “and the impression that India tries to give that this is an internal matter is not correct.”

China’s U.N. ambassador warned on Wednesday against further escalation between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region and expressed hope that a Security Council meeting called by Beijing will encourage both countries to seek a solution through dialogue.

Zhang Jun told several reporters after the closed meeting that China remains “concerned about the situation on the ground” in Kashmir.

"I’m sure the meeting will be a help in both parties to understand the risk of further escalation and encourage them to approach to each other and to have dialogue and to seek means to seek solutions through dialogue,” Mr. Zhang said.

The latest flareup was sparked by Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 on August 5 and following shut down in the Valley. Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because Wednesday’s meeting was closed, said China wanted a review of the U.N. observer mission in Kashmir. But the overwhelming number of countries on the 15-member council urged deescalation and said the dispute is bilateral and should be resolved by India and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters late on Wednesday after meeting U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that some measures taken by India after Aug. 5 have caused heightened tensions and are threatening international peace and security in south Asia. The situation is “very delicate and could spin out of control,” he warned.

"Pakistan has never shied away from a bilateral engagement, but unfortunately the Indians are not prepared to engage,” Mr. Qureshi said, alleging that as soon as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power in August 2018, he made overtures to India which were unfortunately rebuffed.

The Pakistani minister said the fact that the Security Council discussed Kashmir for the second time in five months is a clear indication that the U.N.’s most powerful body recognizes the issue is on their agenda - “and the impression that India tries to give that this is an internal matter is not correct.”

Mr. Qureshi said secretary-general António Gutteres was concerned and knows “the issue cannot be shoved under the carpet.” The U.N. chief’s spokesman said in a brief statement after the meeting that Mr. Guterres “reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia through political dialogue, diplomatic solutions and respect for human rights.”

Even though Security Council members said Kashmir should be discussed and resolved bilaterally, Qureshi said, “the issue is allowed to fester the way it is festering, then it can grow into a situation which is untenable and willy nilly they will have to step in.”

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 11:19:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-hopes-un-meeting-spurs-india-pakistan-talks-on-kashmir/article30573291.ece

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