UN chief 'discussing' Indo-Pak situation at 'different levels'

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UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres is having discussions “at different levels with different parties” about the tense India-Pakistan situation, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

He refused to say who those parties were or the levels of contact but said the discussions were “to make sure that we have, we get a full picture” of the situation.

“The message coming out of those discussions is on the need for both countries to do whatever they can to de-escalate the situation,” he said.

Guterres is “kept appraised of the situation” and is following it, Dujarric added.

Asked if the discussions were mediation efforts, he replied, “I have said what I have to say.” When pressed further, he said, “I’ll let you characterise it.”

He also reiterated that Guterres’s good offices were available if they were requested by both parties.

India carried out air strikes against the “biggest training camp” of JeM in Balakot across the Line of Control.

Following the air strikes, Guterres stressed on his urgent appeal to the governments of India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate.

The UN chief is “obviously, following the situation as we see it even today with deep concern, and his… the United Nations’ message, both publicly and privately, to both sides is to urgently take steps to lower tensions through meaningful, mutual engagement and meet their responsibilities to maintain peace and security in the region,” Dujarric said.

Asked if Guterres spoke to the leaders of India and Pakistan following another day of escalating tension and plans to get involved to try and mediate a de-escalation, Dujarric said Guterres had received a call Tuesday from Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, adding that there have been contacts at various levels with all sides.

He said that “as always”, the secretary-general’s good offices are always “available should both parties or all parties, depending on the situation, agree to do that”.