‘New UN chief needs time to engage Pakistan, India over Kashmir’

‘New UN chief needs time to engage Pakistan, India over Kashmir’

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WASHINGTON: The new United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres didn’t has opportunity so far to speak to prime ministers of Pakistan and India about the Kashmir dispute between the two South Asian neighbours, but that does not mean any lack of interest on his part to help resolve it, his spokesman said Thursday.

Responding to a question at the regular noon briefing, Spokesman Stephanes Dujarric said that since Guterres assumed on January 1, he had spoken to a number of government leaders around the world, but he has not been able to talk to the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

“The secretary-general has been in office for 12 days. He has had a number of contacts with government leaders around the world. He has not been able yet to speak to every leader he would like to and the fact that he has not had a full conversation with the prime minister of India nor the prime minister of Pakistan, to my knowledge, in no way signifies lack of interest in solving the issues around Kashmir or any of the issues that we see around the world,” Dujarric added.

“So I would ask you give a bit of time,” he told a Pakistani journalist who referred to the effort the secretary-general has begun to resolve the Cyprus question, but has not yet done so on Kashmir.

In Geneva on Thursday, the Secretary-General presided over a United Nations-supported conference on Cyprus that brought together the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders in a dialogue aimed at settling the Cyprus issue.

On January 6, the secretary-general offered to play a role of an honest broker between Pakistan and India amid escalating tensions between the two counties.

The UN chief made the offer after Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi gave an extensive briefing on the situation, especially the positioning of Indian Special Forces in occupied Kashmir’s Kupwara and Rajauri districts along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary, indicating another escalatory move.__The Nation

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