Islamabad: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Tuesday said that a constructive approach and confidence building measures between Pakistan and India were key to improvement of their ties and solution of the Kashmir issue.
Baerbock, who is in Pakistan on her maiden visit to the country, made the remarks here during a joint press conference along with her Pakistan counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Responding to a question, Baerbock said she supported resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN resolutions.
She said that a constructive approach and confidence building measures between Pakistan and India were key to improvement of their bilateral ties and solution of the issue.
She also welcomed the Line of Control ceasefire agreed upon in 2021 and stressed the need for both sides to reduce tensions.
Bilawal said that peace in South Asia was “contingent upon peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.”
The foreign minister said the international community must immediately take notice of the increasing incidents of alleged persecution of minorities and rising tide of Islamophobia in India.
Citing the recent “provocative and sacrilegious statements” by the BJP leaders, Bilawal said that such “outrageous and highly condemnable statements had hurt the sentiments of the Muslims all over the world,” state-run APP news agency reported.
The foreign minister said Pakistan wanted peace with India, but it required a rational approach from the other side, adding with such irrational steps by India, the space for peace was being squeezed.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi abrogated the Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
The top German diplomat also made a damning assessment of the Afghan Taliban rule, saying the war-torn country was heading in the “wrong direction”.
“When we look across the border the Taliban is leading the country to a downfall,” she said, adding that parents were unable to feed their children, girls were deprived of education, women were being shunned and the dissenting voices were being suppressed.
She said that the Afghan economy had come to a halt and urged the world to tell the Taliban that there was no room for normal ties until they address the global concerns.
“The international community must stand united and tell the Taliban loud and clear that you are heading in the wrong direction, she said.
On his part, Bilawal urged the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan where the lives of 40 million Afghans were at risk.
Talking about the Ukraine conflict, Baerbock said that Russia’s war had set dangerous precedents and asked the world to stand by Ukraine. She also said restrictions by Russia on wheat exports and its capture of Ukrainian stocks resulted in food price hikes and put at risk the lives of those dependent on wheat imports.
Bilawal said that his country was against the conflict and urged for resolution of the issue through peaceful means.
The two leaders also talked about global warming, expressing concerns about the state of climate conditions.
“When it comes to the climate crisis, we are all living in the same house and the roof is already on fire. We are running out of time and have now to act,” the German minister said.
The two countries agreed to deepen their ties in various fields including climate and also discussed opportunities for increased trade and investment. PTI