India rejects UN chief’s occupied Kashmir mediation offer

New Delhi on Monday rejected an offer by United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres for mediation on the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan, pronouncing that the matter will only be discussed bilaterally, reported The Hindu.

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Guterres, who is on a four-day trip to Pakistan, had last week said in Islamabad that he was “ready to help if both countries agree for mediation”. The secretary-general made this statement prior to attending a conference on Afghan Refugees in Islamabad.

The issue [of Jammu and Kashmir] that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally occupied by another country, Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Indian external affairs ministry told the media in reaction to the statement of the UN chief.

“Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third party mediation,” the spokesperson noted.  The spokesperson also stated that the country hoped the UN security-general would also ask Pakistan to take credible action against terror.

Commenting on the Kashmir lockdown last week, Guterres had expressed his deep concern and suggested both the countries to, “de-escalate, both militarily and verbally” to safeguard peace.

According to the Indian publication, the security-general has offered mediation on Kashmir multiple times in the recent past, especially in August 2019 when Indian government annulled article 370 of its constitution and imposed restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.

US President Donald Trump, who has also offered to mediate, is visiting India next week. Although, the Indian government has a history of rejecting mediation, the specific rebuke of the UN chief might have been made to send a message for the US president ahead of his India visit.

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