Following Indo-Pak escalation with ‘deep concern’: UN chief

Following Indo-Pak escalation with ‘deep concern’: UN chief
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United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is following with “deep concern” the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, calling on both sides to urgently take steps for a “meaningful mutual engagement”.
In the wake of the Pulwama attack and subsequent air strikes by both countries, tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan.
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,” his spokesperson St phane Dujarric told reporters on Wednesday.
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 Mehmood 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”.
The spokesperson said the UN chief, through his contacts and others, are in touch with the relevant parties to pass along the message of the need to take steps to lower tensions and exercise maximum restraint.
Dujarric said contacts have been made at various levels between the UN and India and Pakistan but did not give further details as to which officials in India the contacts have been made with.
Asked about the UN’s role at this point in the situation, he said that the Secretary-General is “kept apprised” of the situation and he is following it.
“Discussions are being held at different levels with different parties to make sure that we have we get a full picture of what is going on and 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.
In the days following the Pulwama attack, Guterres repeatedly stressed on the importance for both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalation.
PTI