The UN has backtracked on its assertion that it was monitoring the situation in Kashmir through the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), clarifying that the observers' mission is limited to the line of control between Indian and Pakistani forces.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric gave the clarification Tuesday at his daily media briefing.
Replying to a volley of questions on the Kashmir situation from visiting Pakistani journalists on Monday, deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq had said: "We will continue to monitor the situation including, of course, through our monitoring group on the ground, UNMOGIP."
Haq had said, "The United Nations has repeatedly, including just a few weeks ago, put out the message to both sides about the need for them to work constructively with each other on this issue." Asked about "UN rights" being violated, Haq said: "I would refer you to the work of our Human Rights colleagues in Geneva, but we have issued periodic communications on this."
On Tuesday, as a follow-up Dujarric was asked by a reporter why he gave the clarification about the limited role of the UNMOGIP. He said cryptically: "It needed to be said."
Dujarric faced several questions on why the UN was not more actively involved in the Kashmir issue, with the insinuation that there was "reluctance" to take it up.
Asked why the UN had not taken up the Kashmir issue as it had matters like the Cyprus dispute, he replied that Ban had had commented on the issue and added: "I will leave it to you analyse it."
Asked again if Ban was "reluctant" to speak about the Kashmir developments, Dujarric said, "When questions arise, we offer comments." He added, "I don't agree that there is reluctance."