UN secretary general’s office denies Kashmir remarks


New Delhi : The UN secretary general’s office has clarified that Ban Ki-moon had made no comment on Kashmir or about the India-Pakistan composite dialogue, India’s external affairs ministry clarified Tuesday.

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“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 ministry said here while referring to remarks attributed to Ban Ki-moon on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the revival of the composite dialogue with Pakistan.

“The office of the UN secretary general has clarified that no such question was raised at (a) press conference nor was any such comment made by the UN secretary general,” the ministry said.

Farhan Haq, Ban’s Pakistani-origin spokesperson, had said in a statement Friday: “In relation to the recent developments in Kashmir, the secretary-general is concerned over the prevailing security situation there over the past month.”

“He calls on all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and address problems peacefully,” the spokesperson said.

India’s external affairs ministry termed these comments “gratuitous”.

The statement, which upset New Delhi, also included a reference to rekindling the spirit of “composite dialogue”.

The statement had said: “He (Ban ki-Moon) 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.”

“He underlines the need for patience, perseverance and compromise on all sides,” it added.