FM Qureshi expresses hope France will 'play its due role' on Kashmir issue

Updated August 21, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi — Photo Courtesy: Foreign Office
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi — Photo Courtesy: Foreign Office

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday expressed hope that France would "play its due role to ensure peace and stability in the region", a statement released by the spokesperson of the Foreign Office said.

During a telephonic conversation with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, FM Qureshi discussed the "illegal and unilateral actions of India to alter the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir in contravention of the international law and UNSC resolutions".

The foreign minister apprised his French counterpart of the "grave risk to peace and security in the region" stemming from the steps taken by India.

He highlighted the "continuously deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation" under which residents of occupied Jammu and Kashmir were faced with severe food and medicine shortages, a blackout of communications and a complete lockdown in the past 16 days.

FM Qureshi urged France "to impress upon India to lift the curfew and ameliorate the hardships and sufferings of the people" in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

The French Foreign Minister said that France "was extremely concerned at the situation and urged both sides to engage in a bilateral dialogue".

Foreign Minister Drian underscored the need "to ensure that there was no further escalation". He impressed upon the fact that France would have the same message for India.

"The two leaders agreed to remain in contact and continue to work together for peace and stability in the region," said the statement in conclusion.

Macron to discuss Kashmir with Modi

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss tensions in the divided region of Kashmir with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two meet in Paris this week, a French official said on Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also weighed in on Kashmir on Tuesday telling Modi in a phone call that the issue was one for India and Pakistan to resolve between themselves through dialogue.

Macron and Modi are set to sit down for a working dinner at the Chateau de Chantilly outside Paris on Thursday ahead of a G7 summit in France this weekend, to which Modi has been invited.

“Of course it (Kashmir) will be on the agenda,” a French diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

“We have a strategic partnership with India, that means having confidence in each other. We are not going to be aggressive towards India, but we expect the Indian prime minister to explain how he sees things.”