Encouraging India, Pak to resolve Kashmir issue through talks: UNGA Prez
United Nations: President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir has encouraged India and Pakistan to resolve the issue of Kashmir through peaceful means and said that he supports dialogue and diplomacy, recalling the 1972 Simla Agreement between the two countries.
Bozkir, in response to a question on Kashmir during a press conference here on Tuesday, said that the position of the United Nations on Jammu and Kashmir is governed by the UN Charter and applicable Security Council resolutions.
“I also recall India and Pakistan’s Simla Agreement of 1972, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter,” said the Turkish diplomat and politician who is serving as the President of the United Nations General Assembly since 2020.
The Simla Agreement, signed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972, is a bilateral agreement that rejects any third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue.
“So there again, I mentioned that I call on all parties to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. In general, I support dialogue and diplomacy, and I encourage both Pakistan and India, neighbours, to resolve this dispute through peaceful means. This was the message I gave; it will be the same message if a question is asked when I’m in Pakistan,” Bozkir said.
The UNGA President said that he will be travelling to Bangladesh and Pakistan later this month on the invitation of the respective governments.
He said that he had also planned a visit to India during his trip to South Asia but postponed it due to an unexpected situation, referring to India’s COVID-19 crisis.
India on August 5, 2019 revoked provisions of Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcating the state into two union territories Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for its decision to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
India has categorically told the international community that its move on Kashmir is an internal matter. India maintains Kashmir is a bilateral issue with Pakistan and no third party has any role in it.
Bozkir who is travelling to Bangladesh and Pakistan later this month on the invitation of the respective governments will also be visiting Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh where he will meet with Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar’s military crackdown, often considered as “ethnic cleansing” by many rights groups.
Bozkir said that he had also planned a visit to India during his trip to South Asia but postponed it due to an unexpected situation.
“I also wanted to go to India. It was India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but unfortunately, an unexpected situation came out and I had to postpone the India part to a later stage. But I will absolutely make sure that I’ll go to India as well,” the UN General Assembly President said, referring to India’s COVID-19 crisis.
Asked whether the UN will be able to host a regular General Assembly session in September, he said: It would be wrong if we make a decision now for September on how the participation will be. Will it be a hybrid format? Or will we have again 10,000 people at UN Headquarters? What happens to civil society? What happens to the bilaterals? These are all questions we have in our minds.
He said June will be a proper time to discuss with the US, the host country of the UN, and local authorities on the COVID-19 situation and feasibility of holding the UN General Assembly.