September 2003 News

Pakistan seeks active UN role on Kashmir: Foreign office briefing

22 September 2003
The Dawn
Hasan Akhtar

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday expressed its regrets that the United Nations and the international community were not doing enough to persuade India to resume dialogue with Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir and other issues which stood in the way of a peaceful and meaningful progress in South Asia. Answering questions at his weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said it was important for the international community to urge Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during his stay in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session to resume talks with Pakistan. He said it was the responsibility of the international community to look for a breakthrough to encourage both sides to resume dialogue and come to an understanding on all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. When asked about prospects for dialogue, and whether there had been some improvement in relations between the two countries, the spokesman said while he would avoid saying where the relations stood today he would declare that Pakistan's position had always been very clear and consistent that there could be no progress without a meaningful dialogue. Replying to another question, the spokesman said the United Nations had to play a more active role in resolving the Kashmir dispute, saying issuing supportive statements was not enough. He said the world body had been pro-active in many other areas, but not in the case of Kashmir. Mr Khan contested a reporter's observation that the foreign office had failed to generate enough international interest in the Kashmir dispute, and said it was not the foreign office rather the United Nations that had failed in respect of Kashmir. JAMALI'S VISIT The spokesman dispelled the impression that the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali to the United States would be overshadowed by the current visit of President Pervez Musharraf to New York to attend the UN General Assembly session. The spokesman recalled that the prime minister's visit later this month was taking place on the invitation of the US president. He said initially the visit was to take place in March but was postponed due to the Iraq war. The coming meeting would have a full agenda of talks which would cover all aspects of relationship, he added. During his stay in the US Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali would also meet Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State, beside other officials, Mr Khan said and added that political as well as economic issues would come under discussion during the meetings.


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