Pakistan urges resolution of outstanding disputes in South Asia at UNSC debate

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 26 (APP):Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has voiced Pakistan’s support for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s burgeoning work with various UN specialized agencies, programmes and funds, while also underscoring the need for settling outstanding disputes in South Asia.

His message of support came at the start of a ministerial-level debate in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) focusing on the role of three bodies – Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the SCO, whose member countries include Russia, China, former members of the Soviet Union, as well as India and Pakistan – in bolstering peace and security, particularly with countering terrorist threats.

“The cooperation between these regional organizations and the United Nations is critical for combating the emerging security threats, especially terrorism,” Qureshi told the 15-member Council on Wednesday.

On its part, he said Pakistan had taken action to uproot the threat of terrorism and would continue efforts with its regional and international partners.

“Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including against people under illegal occupation.”

The foreign minister said certain elements and factors indicated in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy needed to be focused on, including the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.

“This is more pertinent to South Asia which continues to be challenged by common enemies: poverty, illiteracy, disease, and underdevelopment,” he said.

“Political differences and unresolved disputes further compound this predicament,” Qureshi said, adding, “Enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia will remain elusive until the main dynamic in South Asia is shifted from confrontation to cooperation.

“It’s important to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavors for regional prosperity.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said more needed to be done to work together with regional and sub-regional organizations, such as the three bodies under discussion at the debate (the CSTO, CIS and SCO).

Those organizations, he said, had a “rich experience of fighting terrorism and contribute to stability in the Eurasian continent. Their activity is a gauge of security of their member states, and the effective counter-terrorism efforts they undertake help noticeably to stabilize the situation in Central Asia.”

Lavrov expressed concern at ongoing recruitment by various terror groups in the region, and noted that the CSTO was working to close recruitment channels and illegal migration, as well as paying close attention to the role of the Internet in spreading extremist ideologies.

He welcomed the commitment from all three organizations to further broadening cooperation in the area of combating terrorism with the UN, in order to maintain regional and international peace and security.

China’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said counter-terrorism was a shared responsibility for all countries, in a world where terrorism, separatism, and extremism were “rampant”, and were becoming increasingly pervasive and home-grown.

“This requires that international cooperation against terrorism be strengthened and not weakened. No country should link terrorism to a particular country, ethnicity or religion,” he added.

Promoting political settlements, Wang said, was the best option for addressing “hot spot” issues, and ensuring that different civilizations and religions live in harmony, and mutual respect.