'Pakistan Cannot Impose Kashmir Issue At UN'
6 May 2003
The Indian Express
New Delhi: : Russia on Tuesday firmly opposed Pakistan's reported move to rake up the Kashmir issue in U N Security Council saying the council President cannot impose any issue as majority of its members are against it. 'This issue is not on the agenda of the world body', visiting Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri V. Fedotov told reporters when asked about reports that Pakistan, which recently took over as President of UNSC, proposed to raise the Kashmir issue. Fedotov, who had meetings with External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal, said the Security Council President 'cannot impose' any issue and majority of council members were against raising of the Kashmir issue. The 'central problem' is not Kashmir but that of terrorism and training camps for terrorists operating in Pakistan. Welcoming the recent initiatives taken by both India and Pakistan, he said Russia was trying its best to 'encourage and stimulate' this trend. He said his country is looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee later this month. 'The visit will be another step towards strengthening and consolidating relations between India and Russia,' Fedotov told reporters. Vajpayee will travel to St. Petersberg for the 300th year anniversary celebrations of the historic city and also hold annual summit-level meetings with President Vladimir Putin. Fedotov said during discussions he had conveyed Russia's condemnation of continuing acts of cross-border terrorism. 'However, recent statements by new Delhi and Islamabad have demonstrated that there is certain hope of the change for the better emerging in the relations between the two countries. 'Russia welcomes such developments and would like to see that every chance is given to the resumption of peace dialogue,' he said. Expressing satisfaction over the concerted actions of India and Russia against international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, he emphasised 'we reject double standards in this campaign and the attempts to justify terrorism'. He said there were some countries which looked at the issue of terrorism in the political context. 'That is a mistake'. Describing his discussions here as 'very useful and substantive', he said 'given the fact that the next general Assembly of the UN will have a challenging agenda, we have agreed to continue the exchange of views on a broad range of international issues'. New Delhi, has 'highly valued' Russia's support to India's candidature for a permanent seat in an enlarged UN Security Council. Fedotov said both sides have reaffirmed the 'proximity of approaches' to securing the central coordinating role of the UN in addressing such vital international issues as the struggle against international terrorism, drug trafficking, post-war reconstruction of Iraq, situation in Afghanistan and the middle East peace process. New Delhi and Moscow have jointly endorsed the importance of the role of the UN 'on all stages of the settlement' of the Iraq crisis. 'It is also evident, that it is the people of Iraq who should decide the future of their country'. Russia favoured consultations on these issues to start in the UN at the earliest. 'It is a matter of concern' that these discussions have not begun yet. Time is running out,' he said. On reported us plans to divide Iraq into three occupational zones, he said the post-war exercise has to be in accordance with the principles of international law. As per the Geneva convention and other laws, the occupying forces have the responsibility of ensuring law and order in that country, he said.