India rejects UN chief's Kashmir mediation offer
NEW DELHI, Feb 17: The government of India has rejected the latest offer by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, saying that it would only discuss the matter bilaterally.
Speaking in Islamabad at the beginning of a four-day visit to Pakistan, Mr. Guterres had said he had offered his offices and was "ready to help if both countries agree for mediation."
In a response late on Sunday evening, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson said, "The issue of [Jammu and Kashmir] that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan. Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third party mediation."
The spokesperson added that India hopes the U.N. Secretary-General would "emphasise on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India."
Mr. Guterres was speaking to journalists in Islamabad ahead of a conference on Afghan refugees hosted by the U.N.HCR and the Pakistan government, which will be inaugurated by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday. -THE HINDU