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Not again! Pakistan rakes up Kashmir conflict at UNGA

September 26, 2012 10:26 IST

Pakistan on Wednesday once again raked up the Kashmir issue in the United Nations when its President Asif Ali Zardari sought a solution to the issue under an UN resolution.

He said Kashmir remains a symbol of the failure of the UN system and Pakistan's principled position on territorial disputes remains the bedrock of its foreign policy.

"Kashmir remains a symbol of failures, rather than strengths of the UN system," Zardari said in his 20-minute speech at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly.

"We feel that the resolution of these issues can only be arrived in an environment of cooperation," he said.

"We will continue to support the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to peacefully choose their destiny in accordance with the UN Security Council's long-standing resolutions on this matter," the Pakistani President said.

Later, as Zardari exited the General Assembly hall, he was asked by PTI to comment on his remarks that Kashmir is a "symbol of failure" of the UN system.

Zardari did not clarify or elaborate further.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also did not elaborate on the President's remarks on Kashmir.

"It is in the speech, please read that. He said what he said. It is elaborated enough," she said.

Pakistan has raked up the issue of Kashmir at the UN forum time and again, but India has insisted that it is an internal matter.

United States President Barack Obama has also ruled out any "outside" solution to the Kashmir issue, saying in an interview in July that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved among themselves.

Highlighting his country's foreign policy towards its neighbours in the sub-continent in his address, Zardari said Pakistan approaches its relations with India on mutual trust.

"Our principled position on territorial disputes remains the bedrock of our foreign policy," he added.

Noting that contacts between the leadership of India and Pakistan are "expanding", Zardari said he was "encouraged" by his discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in August in Tehran.

The meeting with Dr Singh in Iran on the sidelines of the Non-Alignment Movement Summit was the fifth one in four years for him, Zardari informed the General Assembly.

He said by normalising trade relations, Pakistan wants to create a regional South Asian narrative, which will provide an environment that would mutually benefit the countries of the region.

Zardari acknowledged that the road ahead will have pitfalls, including the tendency to respond to failure through blame.

"Pakistan does not blame others for the challenges it faces. We believe we should look for win-win solutions," he said.

He stressed that "regional cooperation and connectivity will bring us closer and bind us together. It will make us stakeholders in each other's futures."

Pakistan has learnt a lesson from the past 30 years that while history cannot be changed, the future can be "brighter, more prosperous and more secure, not only for Pakistanis, but for all people of the region, and indeed the world," he said.

Yoshita Singh
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