European Union reiterates stand on Kashmir
23 June 2004
New Delhi: Reiterating its support to the peace efforts in Kashmir and between India and Pakistan, Francisco Da Camara Gomes, Ambassador and Head of European Union Delegation of European Commission , said the wording 'Kashmir an integral part of India' was never used and is not part of the official language of the EU with respect to Kashmir. Contradicting the reports which appeared in Indian media about the 7th meeting of the European Union-India Roundtable in Srinagar from 18-20 and political meaning of this event, Francisco said that he was not quoted accurately. In a clarification, Gomes said, 'The wording 'Kashmir, an integral part of India,' which was wrongly reported and repeated by some media, was never used and is not part of the official language of the EU with respect to Kashmir.' Further clarifying the issue, he said the European Union-India Round Table was an instrument of dialogue between European and Indian civil societies. It was not, by definition, a governmental, diplomatic or decision-making body. Its nature was purely consultative. The European Commission is not a member of the Round Table. At an interaction with the press organized by the host co-chair on June 18, the Ambassador Head of Delegation explained the above-mentioned fact. Nonetheless, some media report wanted to transform the Round Table meeting and the presence of the Ambassador Head of Delegation into a manifestation of a change of the well-known position of the European Union on Kashmir, maintained the clarification, adding this was of course a misinterpretation of the facts. Meanwhile, a six- member European Union delegation on Tuesday began a study tour of the Occupied Kashmir that will include a trip to the Line of Control, officials said. Team leader John Cushnahan, an Irish member of the European parliament, said the delegation was in Kashmir 'to see the situation' and report back to Brussels. The team will meet the state's leader, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, and visit the disputed border, a government official said. Mr Cushnahan said the delegation would also speak with civil society during the three- day trip. The European team made a similar visit to Azad Kashmir in December, a month after a ceasefire was reached between Indian and Pakistani troops in the scenic Himalayan territory. The delegation met officials in New Delhi on Monday, including N.N. Vohra, India's pointman on Kashmir.