'Hopeful' that dialogue can happen between two countries: UN on India-Pak war of words

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to the media on Thursday, January 28, 2021, at the UN headquarters in New York. (Photo: UN/IANS)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Image courtesy: IANS

United Nations: Despite the tone and the content of the remarks made by India and Pakistan against each other during the UN General Assembly, we always remain hopeful that dialogue can happen between the two nations, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said.

India slammed Pakistan at the UN after Prime Minister Imran Khan raked up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in his address to the 76the UN General Assembly session on Friday.

We heard the remarks, and I think, despite the tone and the content of the remarks, we always remain hopeful that dialogue can happen, maybe in a place that is not under the spotlights, Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said at the daily press briefing on Monday.

Dujarric was responding to a question that in the wake of the heated exchanges witnessed between India and Pakistan during the high-level UN General Assembly session last week, is the UN concerned about peace in the region and if the Secretary-General is planning to speak to leaders of the two countries.

Exercising the Right of Reply, First Secretary Sneha Dubey said in the UN General Assembly that Pakistan, where terrorists enjoy free pass, is an "arsonist" disguising itself as a "fire-fighter", and the entire world has suffered as it nurtures dreaded terrorists like Osama bin Laden in its backyard.

We exercise our Right of Reply to one more attempt by the leader of Pakistan to tarnish the image of this august Forum by bringing in matters internal to my country, and going so far as to spew falsehoods on the world stage, Dubey had said.

While such statements deserve our collective contempt and sympathy for the mindset of the person who utters falsehood repeatedly, I am taking the floor to set the record straight, the young Indian diplomat said.

Khan, in his address, had spoken about the August 5, 2019 decision of the Indian government on the abrogation of Article 370 as well as the death of pro-Pakistan leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Dubey strongly reiterated that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh "were, are and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. This includes the areas that are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

Pakistan too had then exercised its Right of Reply to the remarks made by Dubey.

Khan and other Pakistani leaders and diplomats have consistently raked up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and other internal matters of India in their addresses to the UN General Assembly and other forums of the world organisation.

Pakistan's attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue have gained no traction from the international community and the Member States, who maintain that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between the two countries.

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