May 2003 News

Pakistan Tones Down Kashmir Rhetoric At UN

14 May 2003
The Times of India

New Delhi: Pakistan toned down its references to Jammu and Kashmir in the UN Security Council discussion on the pacific settlement of disputes, with the presidential statement issued by its foreign minister, Kurshid M Kasuri, at the end of the meeting making no mention of the specific issue. Though Kasuri referred to the UN resolutions on Kashmir and specifically to the plebiscite issue in his own speech to the Council, he expressed his confidence that the international community, especially the Council and the Secretary General, would extend their full support to Pakistan and India in their fresh endeavours for peace. This is a marked departure from Pakistan's usual routine attempts to seek UN intervention and is being viewed as a result of both the current thaw in Indo-Pak relations as also the lack of response from other SC members to its attempts to internationalise the issue. In response to a question, the external affairs spokesperson said India regretted Pakistan's reference to the Kashmir issue in its statement but added that it did not come as a surprise as Pakistan had used every opportunity to raise Kashmir in every forum. 'It is important to note that no member country raised the issue and there was no support for raising the issue.' Officials said that the change was reflective of increasing acceptance of the Indian position on the need to solve the issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally and 'vindicates our stand'. Sources said that officials had been working hard behind the scenes to convince other SC members of the Indian position. SC members were told 'that to bring in issues that were best solved bilaterally would only vitiate and complicate the situation. The current thaw in Indo-Pak relations had helped cement the support in favour of the Indian position, an official said, adding 'Pakistan has also taken cognizance of the developing new mood.'


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