February 2003 News

Pak Raises K-bogey At NAM Summit

22 February 2003
The Indian Express

New Delhi: Even as Pakistan sought the support of the international community to settle its dispute with India, New Delhi firmly stuck to its stand that no country should bring bilateral issues into the NAM agenda. NAM must maintain its role as a voice of the developing countries in facing the enormous challenges ahead and not bring in bilateral issues into its agenda, Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said on Saturday. 'Our position is that bilateral issues must not come into the NAM agenda. If NAM gets involved, then (it will) not be able to put up a united front to the rest of the world. 'We are going to revitalise. So, the first thing is that we should not devitalise ourselves by starting to debate on bilateral issues,' Sibal said on the fringes of the ongoing NAM Summit. Sibal also pointed out that issues such as terrorism should be addressed very carefully by the movement. Pakistan also raised the Kashmir issue in the foreign ministers meeting. Calling for unity among NAM members, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Kurshid Mehmud Kasuri said, 'We have more disputes amongst us than with the outside world. Conflicts within and between our nations incapacitate us in the larger community of nations,' he said. 'We must devise a mechanism to settle our disputes,' he said. 'In South Asia alone, a billion and a half people live under the shadow of constant conflict. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute has divided our region for half a century, This dispute must be resolved justly and amicably. 'Imagine the strength this movement would acquire if the united resources, intellectual and material of South Asia were to be placed at its service,' Kasuri said. Inviting NAM to help resolve the bilateral issue, he said, 'It remains our hope that an earnest effort would be made to establish a mechanism for resolving intra-NAM dispute.' Kasuri had said on Friday that in a bid to revive the regional grouping SAARC, Pakistan would soon invite India again to attend the meet which could not be held in Islamabad in January this year. He had also maintained that the Indo-Pak issue could be settled through dialogue. Kasuri also stressed that right of self determination should not be considered as terrorism. 'Support for the right of self determination is another challenge in front of NAM,' he said on Saturday. 'We also need to return to the movement's original principles: promotion of international peace and security, non-use of force and the right of people to self- determination,' he added.


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