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UN Chief calls for dialogue to resolve heightened tensions in South Asia

"In a context where a minor miscalculation can lead to a major confrontation, we must do everything possible to push for reason and restraint,” says UN chief.

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The Secretary General of United Nations Antonio Guterres on Tuesday while referencing the Kashmir issue on the current Pakistan-India confrontation, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis in his opening speech at the 74th session of the General Assembly.

While attending the Assembly’s high-level segment, the UN Secretary General told world leaders that ‘tensions are raised up in South Asia and the differences need to be addressed through dialogue’. He assessed the international situation in his annual report on the organisation’s work.

India had illegally abolished occupied Kashmir’s special status on August 5, unleashing a brutal crackdown.

Curfews are imposed, communications are blocked through internet and mobile phones suspension. Thousands of people are being apprehended and the local political leaders have been put under house arrest. The lockdown, as of reporting time, has entered its 52nd consecutive day in Indian held Kashmir.

Guterres, in his speech, said that he observed persisting conflicts, a spread of terrorism, and the risk of a new arms race growing on the global landscape.

“Outside interference, often in violation of Security Council resolutions, makes peace processes more difficult”, he said. “Many situations remain unresolved, Yemen to Libya to Afghanistan and beyond.

“A succession of unilateral actions threatens to torpedo a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. In Venezuela, four million people have fled the country — one of the largest displacements in the world,” he added.

While referencing the recent attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, the UN chief underlined the “alarming possibility of armed conflict in the Gulf”. He warned that the world could not afford the consequences of such a spat.

“In a context where a minor miscalculation can lead to a major confrontation, we must do everything possible to push for reason and restraint,” he said.

Guterres further mentioned,”I hope for a future in which all the countries of the region can live in a state of mutual respect and cooperation, without interference in the affairs of others — and I hope equally that it will still be possible to preserve the progress on nuclear nonproliferation represented by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

the authorSamra Mazhar

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