Tuesday, August 13, 2013

UN Chief Welcomes India-Pakistan Efforts To Engage In Dialogue - Bernama

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 13 (Bernama) -- United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, in expressing sorrow over clashes along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, said Monday he was "reasonably encouraged" by India and Pakistan's efforts to resolve their source of conflict through discussions.

Ban, who begins a two-day official visit to Pakistan on Tuesday, also said his "offer of good office remains available" if both countries agreed to his mediation, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

"While I am saddened by the loss of lives in the course of all this conflict, I am relatively, reasonably encouraged by the recent move by both sides to engage in dialogue, to resolve their source of conflict through dialogue - that I will strongly welcome and support," he said.

Ban was responding to questions from Pakistani journalists regarding tensions between India and Pakistan following clashes along the LoC in north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked if he could help India and Pakistan reach a settlement, Ban said: "If both sides think my offer of good office is useful and both sides agree, then I will be ready to offer my good office."

Ban said he would expect the Indian and Pakistani leadership to "continue their dialogue, to create some confidence-building measures".

"I was encouraged to see there was a Kashmir bus service between the Indian and Pakistani sides. There is some increase in the lines of communications between the leaders and this may be small, but you can expand this one," he said.

Ban also said tensions along the LoC were a "long-standing issue" and UN military observers had been "trying to prevent any conflict (across) the LoC."

"But you should know that the UNZIP (UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan) is not mandated with any political role, so these political issues should be handled and discussed by the leaders of both governments," he added.


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