'Ready to help Pak, India on Kashmir if requested by both'

UN General Assembly president-elect Volkan Bozkir on Monday said that he is ready to help Pakistan and India within his mandate to resolve their differences on Kashmir issue if requested by both the parties.

Addressing a news conference along with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Bozkir

said that the resolution of the Kashmir issue was vital for sustainable peace in South Asia, and offered that he can help as per his mandate.

“If my assistance is requested by the parties, I will be ready to provide contributions within my mandate,” he said.

New Delhi’s long-held position has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and there is no question of any mediation or intervention by any third party.

After India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year and announced the bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, Pakistan tried to internationalise the issue.

India has firmly told Pakistan that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and shall continue to be an integral part of India. Issues related to Jammu and Kashmir are internal matter to India.

Bozkir, the first-ever Turkish national to be elected to the Office of the President of the UNGA, was slated to visit Pakistan on July 26-27 but the visit was postponed citing “some technical flight problems.”

He also said that “regional security should be maintained through political and diplomatic means”. He added that all issues should be resolved peacefully through meaningful mutual engagements.

Bozkir comments came after he held detailed talks with Qureshi on different issues, including Kashmir.

The UNGA president-elect arrived in Islamabad on Sunday on a two-day visit at the invitation of the government of Pakistan.

Talking about his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Bozkir called him “a well-known political figure in the world” who has a vision for the region and the world.

Khan during his meeting with Bozkir said the UN should play its role in addressing the situation in Kashmir.

Bozkir also talked about the unprecedented health challenge of COVID-19 which was a threat with social, political and economic consequences.

Earlier, Bozkir planted a sapling in the gardens of the foreign office building as part of the nationwide tree plantation drive. PTI