UN chief calls for Kashmir settlement
11 January 2007
The News International
United Nations: United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed the hope that India and Pakistan would be able to resolve the 59-year old Kashmir dispute through their ongoing dialogue. It is a long- standing issue, which should be resolved through peaceful means, he told APP Special Correspondent while responding to a question as he left a conference room after addressing his first press conference as UN secretary-general. Bans comment on the Kashmir issue came ahead of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjees two-day visit to Islamabad, beginning from Saturday. He said the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) monitors the situation in Kashmir and keeps the UN informed of the developments. At his news conference, Ban reported on his first 10 days, ranging from efforts to give momentum to solving long-standing crises such as those in Sudan and the Middle East to housekeeping steps to strengthen the world bodys institutional capacity. I have had a busy first 10 days in office, he said. The next three months promise to be even busier. Among priorities the Secretary-General cited Lebanon, Iraq and efforts to inject new momentum into the search for peace and stability in the Middle East. On his way to Africa, he is scheduled to attend the Lebanon reconstruction conference in Paris, following last years 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah. On Israel-Palestine, he said he was pushing for a meeting as possible of the Diplomatic Quartet the UN, European Union (EU), Russia and the United which is seeking the establishment of two Statesliving side by side in security and peace, a goal that was originally set for the end of last year. On the home front, Ban stressed he would strive to restore trust, both between member states and the secretariat, and between senior management and staff, strengthen institutional capacity, and change the working culture of the organisation itself. My goal will be to build a staff which is truly mobile and multi-functional, through greater emphasis on career development, training, accountability, and recognition of work performed at all levels, he said.