Against tradition, Sattar raises Kashmir issue
9 April 2000
K. V. Krishnaswamy
CARTAGENA: With predictable certainty, the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdus Sattar, ignored the non-aligned convention of keeping out bilateral issues from the meetings of the NAM and spoke of the need for settling the Kashmir question ''in conformity with the wishes of the people of Kashmir''. At the plenary of the Foreign Ministers'' conference here this morning, Mr. Sattar said settlement of the Kashmir question ''will remove the root cause of tension and usher in durable peace and cooperation in South Asia.'' India''s External Affairs, Mr Jaswant Singh, had addressed the plenary on Saturday. The reference to Kashmir in Mr. Sattar''s speech came in the context of his hailing the NAM''s support for ''the struggle of peoples for freedom'' in general. He went on to speak of the ''spectacular successes achieved over the decades against colonialism'' and added the rider, ''yet, vestiges of alien domination remain.'' The platform had been created for the reference to Kashmir. He also reiterated the known Pakistani stand on the expansion and democratisation of the U.N. Security Council. The Council needed to be expanded but ''islands of privilege should not be enlarged''. He added, ''consistent with its principles, our movement should call for expansion in nonpermanent seats which are subject to period elections. Such expansion can ensure that the Security Council will remain responsive to the will of the majority.'' The two-day ministerial meeting is concluding this evening with the adoption of a declaration.