Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman reiterates call for India-Pakistan dialogue

Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman reiterates call for India-Pakistan dialogue

United Nations, Sep 29 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s spokesman has refused to be drawn into a controversy over whether India and Pakistan were “getting ready to go to war”, saying he would only reiterate earlier statements that called for dialogue between the two nations.

Asked by a reporter on Wednesday if Ban had spoken to Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif because of the situation developing on the subcontinent “getting ready to go to war”, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “I think we know what the situation is, and (as) I said, our position on good offices and the current situation remains the same.”

Repeatedly asked about the Kashmir situation and if Ban would “call the leaders of the India and Pakistan to ratchet down the war rhetoric”, Dujarric said, “I think we’ve stated clearly our position on the situation between those two countries.”

To a question about UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein criticising India and Pakistan for not allowing his teams to visit Kashmir, Dujarric said he was not familiar with that case.

In past statements, Ban has said that dialogue was the way to solve the Kashmir problem and said his “good offices” would be available if the two countries asked for it.

In a recent letter replying to Sharif’s complaints over Kashmir, Ban wrote, “The United Nations remains convinced that it is only through dialogue that the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, including on Kashmir, can be addressed.”

“I deplore the loss of life and hope that all efforts will be made to avoid further violence,” he added.

Ban has also condemned the recent terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri that killed 18 soldiers and expressed his condolences.

Ban “hopes the perpetrators of this crime will be identified and brought to justice,” said the statement by his spokesman.

“The United Nations is following developments closely and shares the concerns of people living in the region for peace.”

“The Secretary-General hopes that all involved will prioritize the re-establishment of stability and prevent any further loss of life,” the statement said, adding “The Secretary-General encourages all stakeholders to meet their respective responsibilities to maintain peace and stability.”

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