UN chief urges India, Pakistan to come together to resolve Kashmir dispute

Published January 29, 2021
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a military confrontation between Pakistan and India would be   a "disaster of unmitigated proportions". — AFP/File
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a military confrontation between Pakistan and India would be a "disaster of unmitigated proportions". — AFP/File

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to “come together and seriously discuss their problems” stemming from the unresolved Kashmir dispute, saying his good offices were always available for mediation.

Responding to a question from an APP correspondent at his first press conference of 2021, the UN chief warned that there was no “military solution” to the decades-old conflict.

“It is clear when seeing Pakistan and India, any military confrontation between the two would be a disaster of unmitigated proportions for both countries and for the whole world,” he warned.

“I do believe that [it] is absolutely essential to have a de-escalation of the situation, namely in the Line of Control,” Guterres said, adding, “I think it’s absolutely essential for the two countries to be able to come together and seriously discuss their problems.”

He further responded to a question about the continuing human rights abuses in Indian-occupied Kashmir and said, “I think it’s essential that human rights are fully respected in all territories that you mentioned.”

He said he stood by his statement of August 8, 2019, which called for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute based on UN resolutions and the UN Charter.

“Now, things have not moved in the right direction, our good offices are always available, and we will insist within them on finding peaceful solutions for problems that have no military solution.”

This is not the first time Guterres has insisted on a resolution to the dispute based on the UN Charter and resolutions. He stressed the same during his four-day visit to Pakistan last year to attend an international conference on Afghan refugees.

“We have taken position about the need for Security Council’s resolutions to be implemented for effective de-escalation.

“Another important aspect, which needs full respect of human rights and continental freedom in Jammu & Kashmir, is that people should have free movement as [they have] in Pakistan’s side. I hope this will also be achieved on the other side (India). I have offered my good offices in relation to the situation and our position is that the Security Council’s resolutions be implemented,” he said at the time.

He also previously addressed India's revocation of Article 370 and ending occupied Kashmir's special status and urged India “to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir”. A statement from his office had said, "The position of the UN on this region is governed by the Charter of the UN and applicable Security Council resolutions [...] the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the UN."

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