March 2001 News

Annan rejects Pak’s plea to intervene on Kashmir issue

14 March 2001
The Hindustan Times

Dhaka: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan today rejected Pakistan's plea to use his good offices in finding a solution to the Kashmir issue, firmly telling Islamabad it is not possible unless India also desired so. Disclosing this in an interview to PTI on the eve of his three-day visit to India, Annan said after his talks with Pakistan President Rafiq Tarar and military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad "it was obvious they wanted to prepare the UN to be a third party to assist" in resolving the issue. While in Islamabad on Sunday, Annan had rebuffed Pakistan's demand for implementation of the UN resolution on Kashmir, saying a solution to the issue could only be found through the Lahore Declaration by exercising restraint, wisdom and through constructive steps from both the sides. In the interview to the agency correspondent accompanying him on his South Asia tour, Annan said: "Obviously Kashmir is very much on their minds and they would want to, they are very keen to talk to Indian authorities about this." "My own position as secretary general is that my good offices are always available since I took over. I have not hesitated to assist wherever my intervention would be useful. But for my good offices to be effective, it has to acceptable to both countries and that clearly does not exist at the moment. So I explained this to them," he said. Annan said there are two options-either they talk directly or they talk through the assistance of a third party. 'since the latter is not feasible at the moment the Pakistani leadership hope that India would engage and the talks would be resumed," he said. About India's prospects of getting a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council, he said it was an issue for the member-states of the organisation to decide. Asked how long it would take to effect the reforms in the world body, Annan said, "It is difficult for me to give you a time frame. The current president of the general assembly is discussing the issue with the member-states. "I believe that there is a need for a restructure and composition of the Security Council as it should be brought in line with today's realities," he said.


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