Kashmir issue must be resolved as per UN resolutions: Aziz

BEIJING: Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Thursday said the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir must be resolved in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the wishes of the Kashmiri people for durable peace and stability in South Asia.

Addressing the Fifth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan remains fully committed to the objective of lasting peace, as part of the comprehensive dialogue on all issues.

Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan greatly values the role of CICA as a forum for interaction and confidence building to advance the cause of peace and security and development in Asia.

He said if Asia were to regain its lost power and glory and contribute to global peace and development commensurate with its true potential, “we would have to assume our responsibilities and act on several fronts.”

“We also have to draw attention to root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, and the urgent need to address them. This should be main message as a part of the theme of, promoting peace and security through dialogue.”

Aziz said “we must find peaceful political solutions to the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. Pakistan supports the UN led diplomatic initiatives in this regard.”

He said a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question was essential for comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Sartaj Aziz said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the best interest of Pakistan, and the entire region. He said it was also a pre-requisite for both Pakistan and Afghanistan to realize the full potential of their strategic locations as the hubs of economic, trade and energy corridors and connectivity across regions.

He said peace in Afghanistan will also enable the return of millions of Afghan refugees hosted by Pakistan for over three decades.

CICA was created in Almaty two decades ago, for dialogue and cooperation in many areas including terrorism; drug trafficking, organized crime, human rights, environment, economic progress and trade.

Aziz said if a balance sheet of positives and negatives was drawn it would be concluded that in area of economy and trade, Asia has made considerable progress.

He said progress in two other areas namely human rights and environment has also been very positive. The Paris Agreement of 2015 on climate change and the adoption of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations would add considerable momentum to this progress in the coming years.

However he pointed that in the remaining three areas – terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime, the challenges have become more serious. He said violent extremism has destabilized many more countries in the region, exacting a heavy toll on human lives and prolonging the suffering of millions of refugees drifting in high seas in search of safety.

The Adviser pointed that “worryingly, instances of Xenophobia, discrimination, religious and racial profiling and defamation of religions are on the rise.”

“A lot more needs to be done to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and understanding,” he said.

The Adviser to the Prime Minister said even in this age of democracy, there were countries and sub-regions under foreign occupation, subjected to grave human rights violations and denied their fundamental and inalienable right to self-determination that has been promised to them by the United Nations.

“Cooperative multilateralism offers the best mechanism to effectively address these complex challenges,” he said.

The United Nations and its Charter provide the over-arching framework for such cooperation.

He said while Europe and USA were still recovering very slowly from the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the Asian continent has surged ahead with a much faster rate of growth and contributed strongly to global trade and global growth.

“China has now become the second largest economy of the world,” Aziz said.

He said the economic prospects of Asia for the next decade were even more promising due to several initiatives to expand trade and energy connectivity. He said the most important initiative in this context was the One Belt One Road vision of Chinese leadership.

He said Pakistan-China Economic Corridor was a flagship component of this vision.

Aziz expressed his gratitude to the People’s Republic of China, Minister Wang Yi for the excellent arrangements and for the traditional warmth and hospitality extended.

He also conveyed appreciation for China’s active and able stewardship of CICA and President Xi’s inspiring opening address.

He termed CICA an important forum and said Pakistan would remain actively engaged with member states with a view to strengthening this process for our collective benefit.

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