UN chief ‘discussing’ Indo-Pak situation at ‘different levels’

Urges both countries to do whatever they can to de-escalate tension
File Pic
File Pic

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 ofcontact but said the discussions were "to make sure that we have, we get a fullpicture" of the situation.

"The message coming out of those discussions is on the needfor both countries to do whatever they can to de-escalate the situation," hesaid.

Guterres is "kept appraised of the situation" and isfollowing 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 youcharacterise it."

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

India carried out air strikes against the "biggest trainingcamp" of JeM in Balakot across the Line of Control.

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

The UN chief is "obviously, following the situation as wesee it even today with deep concern, and his… the United Nations' message, bothpublicly and privately, to both sides is to urgently take steps to lowertensions through meaningful, mutual engagement and meet their responsibilitiesto maintain peace and security in the region," Dujarric said.

Asked if Guterres spoke to the leaders of India and Pakistanfollowing another day of escalating tension and plans to get involved to tryand mediate a de-escalation, Dujarric said Guterres had received a call Tuesdayfrom Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, adding that there havebeen contacts at various levels with all sides.

He said that "as always", the secretary-general's goodoffices are always "available should both parties or all parties, depending onthe situation, agree to do that".

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