Finland advocates third party mediation on Kashmir
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Last Updated: Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 00:05
New Delhi: In remarks bound to embarrass India, Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb today advocated third party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Stubb, who is on a two-day official visit here, said, "I think in an issue like Kashmir, its obviously quite clear that you have two parties, at least. And it thus takes two to tango. But if a bilateral solution has not been found in 60 years, then perhaps other avenues for a solution should be found.

"In almost all conflicts in this world... if you cannot find a solution among the parties concerned, you would never. It is also quite often true that without mediation from a third party you will never find a solution, I think Kashmir is an example," he said.

However, the Finnish Minister said he was not handing out any piece of advice to India and Pakistan but given that a solution has not been found to the Kashmir issue bilaterally for years, "other avenues" should be found.

"I am not giving any advise to India or Pakistan but pragmatically stating, if the issue can be solved bilaterally please give me the proof, or if it can't be solved bilaterally let's do something else," he told reporters here.

He said he was a firm believer in multilateralism and "Kashmir is an example of a situation where one might not find a solution without mediation".

Briefing the reporters about his meeting with National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Stubb said he had the opportunity to hear India's "Pak-Af" view of the Afghanistan conflict, as against the "Af-Pak" approach of the West.

"I spoke to the NSA. I would take back a more enlightened view of India from this visit. I would also communicate it to the new European Foreign Minister," he said.

Pressing for a strategic partnership between the EU and India, Stubb said the EU needs to view India beyond the realms of economics and realise that it is an important global player today.

"EU's relationship with India has been driven by economics. EU needs to realise India has become a global player, and needs to know that its relations with Pakistan, its thinking on Afghanistan, the issue of Kashmir and Iran are crucial," he said.

Stubb also favoured a reform in the United Nations, saying the world body needs an overhaul to be able to reflect present day realities and extended his country support to India's bid for a permanent seat in an expanded Security Council.

The Finland Foreign Minister said he would also discuss regional issues like Afghanistan, Iran, terrorism, and EU-India relations in general during his meeting with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

"When I speak to Krishna, I would be more ears, learn about what India's thinking is on terror. I would like to know about the post-Mumbai (attacks) situation, what they think of the Taliban, India's views on the terror activity in the region," Stubb said.

"India is part of the solution, not the problem, the EU should realise. India has played a very constructive role in Afghanistan," he added.


First Published: Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 00:05

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