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UN denies remarks on J&K: S M Krishna
New Delhi, Aug 4 (Agencies):
Published on 5 Aug. 2010 1:30 AM IST
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A day after India took up the matter with the United Nations, the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said it had been informed that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s remarks on Kashmir were not made by him. The ministry issued a statement saying that the Secretary General’s office had clarified that he had not made remarks voicing concern over the current situation in Kashmir and backing the resumption of Indo-Pak composite dialogue.
Ban’s remarks, which did not go down well with New Delhi, had been e-mailed to the media in New York last week by his Pakistani-origin spokesperson Farhan Haq.
“The ministry has seen media reports on certain remarks attributed to the UN Secretary General on the security situation in Jammu & Kashmir and revival of composite dialogue with Pakistan. The government had sought a clarification from the office of the UN Secretary General through our Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. The office of the UN Secretary General has clarified that no such question was raised at the press conference nor was any such comment made by the UN Secretary General,” the MEA statement said on Tuesday.
Ban’s chief spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that this information was not a statement made by Ban but it was “information provided by the Secretariat (and) distributed by the spokesperson’s office.”
Ban’s associate spokesperson Farhan Haq, who is of Pakistani-origin, who originally sent the information by e-mail to journalists, said that while this was not a statement made by Ban, “it was all generated by the UN.” Despite India’s objections, Haq has maintained that the contents of the e-mail reflected the views of the UN chief.
The nature of the remarks, however, does not sound like a “press guidance” and at this point the UN is struggling to resolve the situation without completely disowning its remarks. The e-mail circulated by Haq had said that Ban was “concerned” over the prevailing security situation in Kashmir over the past one month and called on “all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and address problems peacefully.”
The remarks in the e-mail also touched on the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan. “He (Ban) encourages both sides to rekindle the spirit of the composite dialogue, which was initiated in 2004 and had made encouraging progress on some important confidence building measures, and to make renewed efforts to address outstanding issues, including on Jammu and Kashmir,” the e-mail had said.
The Indian side pointed out that on the day the remarks went out, no questions were raised on Kashmir during the regular press briefing at the UN. The communication sent by the UN to the Indian government also noted that no questions were raised on Kashmir.
However, correspondents here from Pakistan have been asking questions on Kashmir on a regular basis. The UN initially did not respond to the questions and Ban himself avoided commenting on it when asked directly about the unrest. On the other hand, questions had not been raised at any stage with reference to the composite dialogue. Therefore it remains unclear why reference to these talks was included in the statement.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi yesterday cited Ban’s remarks while asking the Indian government to “exercise restraint” in Kashmir. In an effort to appear more neutral, the clarification, which was sent by the UN to the Indian government, noted that the violence was also being stoked “on accounts of terror or otherwise.”
At the same time, questions about the tensions in Kashmir continue to be posed, mostly by the correspondents from Pakistan at the UN. Nesirky yesterday said he had no comments on more civilian deaths in the region.

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