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MEA at odds with UN over Ban`s remarks on Kashmir

The External Affairs Ministry was today at odds with the United Nations over Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon`s gratuitous remarks on Kashmir, which irked India but were welcomed by Pakistan.



New Delhi/Islamabad: The External Affairs
Ministry was today at odds with the United Nations over
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon`s gratuitous remarks on Kashmir,
which irked India but were welcomed by Pakistan.

The ministry issued a statement saying that the Secretary
General`s office had clarified that he had not made remarks
voicing concern over the current situation in Kashmir and
backing the resumption of Indo-Pak composite dialogue.

Ban`s controversial remarks, which did not go well
with New Delhi, had been e-mailed to the media in New York
last week by his Pakistani-origin spokesperson Farhan Haq.

Haq`s attention was drawn to the ministry`s statement and
he was asked if what he had circulated to journalists
reflected Ban`s views.

The spokesperson responded in an e-mail message, "Yes,
what I sent last week in response to questions reflects the
Secretary-General`s views."

Asked if the Indian government had protested to the UN,
he said "As for what the Indian Government has done, please
ask them."

When told about the contradictory positions between the
two sides, sources in the MEA declined to be drawn into
further comments on the issue. "Whatever we have to say, we
have said in the statement," said a source.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Minister S M Qureshi cited
Ban`s comments to say that these as well as the
"disappointment" expressed by Organisation of Islamic
Conference reflected the "collective concern of the
international community at the human rights violation" in
Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the last week`s e-mail by Haq, Ban "is
concerned over the prevailing security situation" in "Indian-
administered Kashmir". This was a reference to the turmoil in
the Kashmir valley in which a number of lives have been lost.

Haq said the Secretary General called on "all concerned
to exercise utmost restraint and address problems peacefully.

"He (Ban) encourages both sides to rekindle the spirit of
composite dialogue which was initiated in 2004 and had made
encouraging progress on some important confidence building
measures, and to make renewed efforts to address outstanding
issues, including on Jammu and Kashmir," it further said.

In New York, UN Chief Spokesperson Martin Nesirky said
the Secretary General had not made the statement under
question. However, he said it was "information provided by
the secretariat distributed by the spokesperson`s(Haq)
office."

Nesriky also said the e-mail sent by Haq to the media in
New York last week was "media guidance taken out of context."

PTI

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