EU committee endorses Kashmir report
1 May 2007
London: Baroness Emma Nicholson’s draft report on Kashmir became an official document after the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Union endorsed the amendments by 60 votes to 1 in Brussels. Addressing a press conference on Tuesday at her office in the House of Lords, she said the draft report had been okayed by the FAC. “Now the report will go to the plenary session at Strasbourg on May 21 for final vote after which it will be declared as the official property of the EU.”She said the report fully support India-Pakistan composite and permanent dialogue which has created a range of confidence-building measures, enabling among others, divided families to cross the Line of Control and meet for the first time in 60 years. The EU, she said, had welcomed the joint India-Pakistan communiqué on Kashmir issued in April 2005 which had helped to strengthen the process and re-affirmed the irreversibility of the peace process and the focus on a non-military solution to the Kashmir conflict and subsequent progress in the dialogue. The report urged the EU to continue to support “very significant initiatives” which had the potential to bring peace to a much wider region besides strengthening organisations like Saarc and Safta. The report criticised India for its large military presence on the LoC and multiple human rights abuses documented in several reports received by the EP. Baroness Nicholson said that although the report was not binding on the Pakistan and Indian governments, but expressed the hope that much could be achieved through dialogues and bilateralism. She also said that she had accepted invitation from Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and would soon visit Pakistan.