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Good offices available to India, Pakistan, if both ask for it: UN chief on Kashmir issue

UNITED NATIONS: Dialogue between India and Pakistan is an “absolute essential element” for resolving the Kashmir issue and his good offices are available if both sides ask for it, UN chief Antonio Guterres has said while calling for the full respect of human rights.

The Secretary General’s remarks came ahead of the UN General Assembly session where Pakistan has vowed to raise the Kashmir issue after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Well, our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it. And, on the other hand, it relates to advocacy, and the advocacy was expressed and will be maintained,” Guterres said Wednesday during a press conference. Guterres was asked by a Pakistani journalist about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and what will he do to bring a solution to the Kashmir issue.

“I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory, and I go on with the clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolutely essential element for the solution of the problem, he said. India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5.

Reacting to India’s move, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner. India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan. The Secretary General has also repeatedly asserted that his good offices are available only if both sides ask for it.

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