Finland advocates third party mediation on Kashmir

In remarks bound to embarrass India, Finland`s Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb today advocated third party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Updated: May 05, 2010, 00:05 AM IST

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

"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

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.