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European Union not to interfere in Kashmir issue

May 13, 2011 21:18 IST

A five-member European Union delegation, currently on an information gathering visit to Valley, on Friday hinted that the EU will not interfere in the Kashmir issue, saying it has to be resolved by the "people living in the region".

"We are not coming here with a particular mandate (to solve the issue). What is happening in this part of the country has to be solved by the people who are living in the region," EU Ambassador to India Daniele Smadja told reporters after meeting moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Asked whether the EU considers Kashmir as a "disputed territory", Smadja said, "There are some issues which you have to settle by yourselves".

"We have been coming every year like we travel in other parts of the country because this is our task as an ambassador to reach out to all parts of the country," she said.

The delegation comprising Smadja, Irish Ambassador Kenneth Thompson, Belgian Ambassador Pierre Vaesan, EU delegation's First Secretary Philipp Gross and delegation's attache Anne Vaugier-Chatterjee met Mirwaiz, former Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Ahmad Lone at Mirwaiz's Nigeen residence.

"There is an internal dimension to the Kashmir issue as well as external dimension because there have been international commitments which have not been fulfilled. And if the international community cannot mediate, they can facilitate the solution," Mirwaiz said soon after meeting the delegation.

The moderate Hurriyat leader said the people of Kashmir would contribute if there is any positive development between India and Pakistan.

"They told us that behind the scene European Union is trying to encourage both the countries to solve the issues through dialogue," Mirwaiz said.

Earlier, the EU delegation met the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Mohammad Yasin Malik, who appealed to the EU to use its influence with India and Pakistan to take solid and constructive measures to address the Kashmir issue.

"The European Union has friendly ties with both India and Pakistan and our sincere appeal is to use the influence to make the two countries agree to demonstrate sincerity to resolve Kashmir issue," Malik told the delegation.

"The two countries need to take solid and constructive steps to address this long standing and dangerous issue, rather than sticking to the past exercise of cosmetic measures," Malik said.

The JKLF chief said that New Delhi and Islamabad should accept that Kashmir is not a border dispute between India and Pakistan but an issue concerning the future of crores of Kashmiris.

"Kashmir is not only a political issue but a human issue as well," he said, urging the European Union to play its role in resolution of the issue.

Terming Kashmiris as a basic party to the dispute, Malik said the involvement of the people of Kashmir in the talks and decision making is imperative to find an everlasting solution to the problem.

Malik briefed the delegation about the genesis of Kashmir problem, its transition from violence to non-violence and alleged human rights violations.

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