UN hails Indo-Pak thaw
‘Recent Efforts Very Positive, Encouraging’
United Nations, Apr 24: Terming as “very positive” and “encouraging” recent efforts by India and Pakistan to normalise their relations, UN chief Ban Ki-moon Tuesday hoped the two neighbours will continue the dialogue process and play a greater role for peace, security and harmony in the region.
“India and Pakistan are very important countries not only in the region but in world politics. They both have a great role to play for peace, security and harmony in the region,” Ban told PTI here in an interview.
The UN chief, who will leave for a three-day visit to India tomorrow, welcomed the “very positive movement” between the two countries to improve trade ties.
Ban will depart for his third visit to India as UN Chief tomorrow and would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior political leaders in New Delhi. The Secretary-General would receive an honorary doctorate degree from Jamia Islamia University.
His itinerary also includes a trip to Mumbai where he would meet Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and attend an event hosted by Reliance Industries’ Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who is member of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy group, which Ban had established.
In his interview, Ban was also appreciative of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s private visit to India earlier this month and his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“I welcome the recent movement, very positive movement between the two countries, the exchange (between) the leadership and engaging in addressing all pending issues through dialogue at the highest level. This is quite encouraging,” Ban said.
“I hope such dialogue will continue to first of all improve the bilateral relations and contribute further to regional and international peace and security,” he added.
The peace process between India and Pakistan was resumed last year after a gap of two years in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
Addressing the issue of terrorism, Ban said the whole world has been struggling to fight against international terrorism.
Ban welcomed the “very strong commitment” and “determined will” shown by the Indian government to fight terrorism and also support the United Nations’ global strategy against terrorism.
The strategy provides a broad framework on how the international community can work together at the national, regional and international level to combat terrorism, Ban said, adding that addressing the problem of terrorism and protecting human lives should be given “first and foremost consideration” by nations.
On India’s successful test-fire of its ‘Agni V’ missile last week, Ban said he has “taken note” of the reactions and concerns raised by countries in the region, including China over the missile launch.
Ban pointed out that there are relevant UNSC resolutions on missiles and use of nuclear weapons.
Responding to a question on the 2014 troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Ban said while some countries have “accelerated the pace” to pull back from the war-torn country, due attention and political policy consideration is required to ensure that transfer of the security responsibility to the Afghans is accompanied with Afghan national security forces being strengthened in their capacity to address their own security.
“The security and development agenda should be promoted hand in hand,” he said.
Ban also noted that as the foreign troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, it is important that there should be some reconciliation among the different ethnic groups in Afghanistan.
UNSC REFORM PROCESS TO BE ACCELERATED
Ban expressed the hope that the Security Council’s reform process will be accelerated to meet expectations of countries like India which are keen to play a bigger role as permanent members of the powerful UN body.
“I am very well aware of the aspiration of the Indian government to serve even in a bigger role as permanent member of the UNSC,” Ban said.
Ban said UNSC reforms has been one of the most important and most debated issues, particularly during the last 20 years and has picked up pace in the last three years.
He noted that UN member states have been working “very hard and accelerating” the pace of the reform process.
“There is generally broad consensus of views that considering such dramatic situations which have been taking place in the international community, the UNSC should be reformed in a more representative, more democratic, transparent way,” Ban said.
India along with Japan, Germany, South Africa and Brazil is seeking permanent membership of the Security Council.
Ban said he expects India, the largest democracy in the world, to “play a greater role” in international affairs.
“India should speak out and also help those countries in transition in the Arab world. India can show and lead by example, share its experiences in the democratisation process,” with the countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Terming India as a “very valued and strong partner” of the UN, Ban said through his visit he is keen to reinforce the partnership.
“All in all I am very happy with the current level of partnership between UN and India. But we are working (to have an) even better, even more and even stronger relationship. That is the main purpose (of the visit),” he said.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 25 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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