UN chief calls for India, Pakistan dialogue to resolve differences

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UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 22 (APP): Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has again called on India and Pakistan to resolve their differences through dialogue and expressed concern over the tensions along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region.

Ban, whose 10-year term as the world’s top diplomat ends at the end of this month, encourages the South Asian neighbours to continue their efforts to deal with their disputes through dialogue, Farhan Haq, the secretary-general’s deputy spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday in response to a question about the deteriorating situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir and Ban’s reluctance to comment on it.

“All I can say is the Secretary-General has had a very consistent position. One fact we expressed even just last month, which is to say that he is following with concern the increase in tensions along the Line of Control and that he urges the Governments of India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and encourages them to continue their efforts to resolve their differences peacefully and through dialogue,” Haq said.

When a Pakistani correspondent pointed out that the Secretary-General has been “very reluctant” throughout his tenure to talk about India-Pakistan conflict, Haq said he disagrees with such assessment. “I would disagree with you on that. We’ve had statements, including on the situations between India and Pakistan and on specifically on Kashmir.

There have been statements and notes to correspondents. The last one was just a few weeks back, so I would just refer you back to those,” Haq said.

In a statement issued last month, the secretary-general had expressed deep concern about the “deterioration” of the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and called on all involved to prioritize the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent any further escalation and loss of life. Ban has said that his good offices are available to India and Pakistan if “accepted by both sides”.