Dialogue on Kashmir must, Sharif tells new UN chief

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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raised the issue of Kashmir in his first meeting with new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday.

Islamabad, Sharif, who met Guterres on the sidelines of World Economic Forum at Davos, said Kashmir needed attention of the UN, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“A sustained dialogue process on all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir is essential to make progress. It was

in this spirit that we invited India for discussions on the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and aspirations of the Kashmiri people,” Sharif said to the UN chief.

The Pakistan Prime Minister said India did not respond positively to his country’s “invitation” for dialogue and adopted a “no-talks posture, vitiating the atmosphere through incendiary statements….”

According to his office’s statement, Sharif also raised the issue of Indus Water Treaty with the UN Secretary General.

“We look forward to your leadership and good offices.. the United Nations has longstanding responsibility to play a role in the resolution of these issues,” Sharif said.

Guterres told Sharif that he was “fully cognisant of the sensitivity of the issues between India and Pakistan which has security consequences for the region,” the statement said.

Sharif said his government’s foremost priority was to build a peaceful neighbourhood.

“We are committed to lasting peace and security in our region and an environment conducive to economic cooperation; which is in the interest of all the people of South Asia,” he said.

Guterres praised Pakistan’s contribution for the United Nations and Peace-keeping operations as well as hosting millions of Afghan refugees, reports said on Friday.

He said that he will play a very constructive and positive role for the countries in the region including Pakistan.

Sharif recalled with great appreciation Guterres’ inspirational role as the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Your visits to Pakistan in that tenure enabled you to understand our challenges in hosting millions of refugees”, he said.

Assuring that Pakistan will support and cooperate to enable the Office of UN Secretary General to fulfill UN’s mandate, Sharif said that Islamabad would also support his call for prioritising conflict prevention and sustainable peace

He invited the UN chief to visit Pakistan at earliest convenience and stated that his visit will showcase support and commitment to peace and progress in the region. (PTI/AGENCIES)

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