United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to “come together and seriously discuss their problems” stemming from the unresolved Kashmir dispute, offering his good offices for mediation.
Addressing his first press conference of 2021, the UN chief warned that there was no “military solution” to the decades-old conflict.
He said any military confrontation between the two would be “a disaster of unmitigated proportions for both countries and for the whole world.”
Guterres called on de-escalation of the situation along the Line of Control that is “absolutely essential for the two countries to be able to come together and seriously discuss their problems.”
To a question about the continuing human right abuses in Occupied Kashmir, he said “I think it’s essential that human rights are fully respected in all territories that you mentioned.”
He said he stood by his August 8, 2019 statement which called for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute based on UN resolutions and the UN Charter.
UN secretary general said as things have not moved in the right direction, “our good offices are always available, and we will insist within them on finding peaceful solutions for problems that have no military solution.”
Guterres has been advocating resolution of the dispute based on the UN Charter and resolutions in the past. He has stressed the resolution of dispute during his four-day visit to Pakistan last year to attend an international conference on Afghan refugees.
“We have taken position about the need for Security Council’s resolutions to be implemented for effective de-escalation.
“Another important aspect, which needs full respect of human rights and continental freedom in Jammu & Kashmir, is that people should have free movement as [they have] in Pakistan’s side. I hope this will also be achieved on the other side (India). I have offered my good offices in relation to the situation and our position is that the Security Council’s resolutions be implemented,” he said.
Guterres has previously addressed India’s revocation of Article 370 and ending special status of Occupied Kashmir and urged New Delhi “to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir”.
A statement from his office had said: “The position of the UN on this region is governed by the Charter of the UN and applicable Security Council resolutions […] the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the UN.”