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Kashmir: avoid escalation, says U.N. chief

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (File)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (File)   | Photo Credit: Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged all parties to avoid any sort of escalation in Kashmir during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in the French town of Biarritz, according to his spokesman.

At a press briefing here on Monday, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the two leaders had a “long and fruitful discussion” on climate issues.

To a question, he said the issue of Kashmir did come up.

“For the Secretary-General’s part, he reiterated the message that he has been saying publicly, and that’s basically a need for all parties to avoid any sort of escalation.”

The two leaders were in France to attend the G7 Summit.

Briefing the reporters, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said there was some discussion on Kashmir between Mr. Modi and the U.N. chief.

“The Prime Minister has laid out our basic position, on the internal matter that the Article 370 is under the Constitution, on the fact that on the international front no step has been taken by India in any way or form to threaten regional peace and stability,” Mr. Gokhale said.

Mr. Modi told Mr. Guterres that normalcy was returning to Jammu and Kashmir and that in many areas restrictions had been substantially eased or entirely removed, he said.

Mr. Gokhale said Mr. Modi had also underlined that the “people in the State have faced terrorism for 30 or more years and this is the primary threat, this is our concern and that therefore in keeping with that certain restrictions will remain in place to ensure that law and order is maintained and will be progressively lifted.”

This was the first meeting between the two leaders after India had abrogated the provisions of Article 370.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

On Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he would raise the issue at every international forum, including the General Assembly.

Mr. Khan’s address to the nation came after Mr. Modi, during his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation.

Soon after Mr. Khan’s speech, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Maleeha Lodhi met General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa here and briefed her about the situation in Kashmir.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 6:01:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kashmir-avoid-escalation-says-un-chief/article29271619.ece

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