International desk, September 20: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is likely to use the opportunity of discussions during the high-level UN General Assembly (UNGA) session next week to raise the Kashmir issue, the UN chief’s spokesperson has said.Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric during the daily press briefing on Thursday said that the UN chief has underscored the need for dialogue as the only way to resolve the issue and, “as part of the solution for the current crisis in Kashmir, to make sure that human rights aspects are very much dealt with, as well,” NDTV reports.
“…On Kashmir, the Secretary General… has said previously, he remains engaged. I think he will also use the opportunity of discussions during the General Assembly to raise it,” Mr Dujarric said, responding to a question on Kashmir.
On Wednesday, Mr Guterres emphasised that “dialogue” between India and Pakistan is an “absolute essential element” for reaching a solution on the Kashmir issue, and said his good offices are available should both sides ask for it and called for full respect of human rights.
“Well, our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it. And, on the other hand, it relates to advocacy, and the advocacy was expressed and will be maintained,” Mr Guterres said during his press conference ahead of the UN General Assembly session.
Mr Guterres was asked by a Pakistani journalist about Jammu and Kashmir and what he will do to bring a solution to the Kashmir issue.
“I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory, and I go on with the clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolutely essential element for the solution of the problem,” he said.
India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part of India and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.
The UN Secretary General has also repeatedly asserted that his good offices are available only if both sides ask for it.
Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s ‘temporary special status’ on August 5. Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and sent back the Indian High Commissioner.
Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was India’s “internal matter”.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York on September 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to speak on the same day.