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UN chief`s office denies Kashmir remark

The role of the Pakistani-origin spokesperson of Ban Ki-Moon has come under scanner.



New Delhi: The role of the Pakistani-origin
spokesperson of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has come
under scanner with the denial of the UN chief`s controversial
remarks on Kashmir by his office.

Spokesperson Farhan Haq e-mailed a statement to
journalists at the UN headquarters in New York last week
stating that 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 went on to say that the Secretary General called on
"all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and address
problems peacefully."

Concerned over the gratuitous remarks, which were seen as
a departure from diplomatic norms, India took up the matter
through its mission to the UN.

The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement here
Tuesday that Ban`s office has clarified that no question about
Kashmir was raised at any press conference "nor was any such
comment made by the UN Secretary General."

This denial also applies to another part of Haq`s
statement which talked about Secretary-General`s backing the
resumption of composite dialogue between Indian and Pakistan
which New Delhi does not favour unless Islamabad addresses the
issue of terrorism.

The denial flies in the face of Haq`s statement which
said, "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."

Diplomatic observers here were of the view that either
Haq had issued an unauthorised statement or Moon`s office was
backtracking in the face of Indian reaction.

PTI

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