UN General Assembly Chief, Says Delhi Took His Kashmir Comments Out of Context

SRINAGAR: Volkan Bozkir, the Turkish diplomat who is the UN General Assembly’s incumbent president for the year, has regretted India’s reaction to his Kashmir statements in Pakistan saying the statement was taken out of context.

Volkan Bozkir, the first Turkish to UN General Assembly does not want any change with the Kashmir status.

“The President was saddened to see a press statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, which portrays his remarks on Jammu and Kashmir from a selective perspective, while they are consistent with the longstanding UN position regarding this issue,” Amy Quantrill, Bozkir’s Deputy Spokesperson said, according to news gatherer IANS. “It is regrettable that the President’s remarks were taken out of context.”

In Pakistan, where he was bestowed with the Crescent of Pakistan, the highest civilian honour, Bozkir had said that Pakistan must bring Kashmir to the United Nation platform more strongly.

An MEA spokesman in Delhi had turned down any linkage or comparison of Kashmir with Palestine.

In a joint presser when the host Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi linked Kashmir and Palestine problem, Bozkir had said: “As the minister mentioned and also compared to two important things, I think the two problems are of the same age, Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir, and I fully agree that this is the case.” Besides, he pointed out that Kashmir lacks the “same enlarged political wind behind it” as the Palestine cause.

It was in this response that MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi had reacted. “We express our strong opposition to the unwarranted references made with respect to the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir by the President of the United Nations General Assembly Volkan Bozkir during his recent visit to Pakistan,” Bagchi had said. “When an incumbent President of the UN General Assembly makes misleading and prejudiced remarks, he does great disservice to the office he occupies. The President of the UN General Assembly’s behaviour is truly regrettable and surely diminishes his standing on the global platform.”

However, Amy Quantrill said Bozkir did not say something new. “The President also replied to questions from the press members regarding the procedural aspects of a possible consideration of this (Kashmir) issue in the UN General Assembly, while reiterating the UN position, which is governed by the UN Charter and applicable Security Council resolutions,” she said. “President also recalled India and Pakistan’s Simla Agreement of 1972, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the UN Charter.”

Quantrill said that Bozkir had “recalled that throughout his term, and consistent with the UN policy, and applicable UN Security Council resolutions, he encouraged all parties to refrain from changing the status of the disputed territory”. That was a reference to India abrogating Article 370 of its Constitution, which gave a special status to Kashmir. “The President continues to support dialogue and diplomacy and encourage both Pakistan and India to resolve this dispute through peaceful means.”

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