Zarif meets Indian foreign secretary, expresses concern over Kashmir

September 15, 2019

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale in Tehran on Sunday.

The officials discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in various areas.

Zarif expressed concerns over situation of the people in Kashmir and expressed hope their condition would improve.

Tensions have been simmering between India and Pakistan since New Delhi stripped Indian-controlled Kashmir of its special autonomy in August. Pakistan has called that move “illegal.”

Kashmir is generally considered disputed territory. It has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. The countries have fought three wars over the territory.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi issued a statement on August 13 expressing Iran’s concerns over reports of tight security measures and religious restrictions against the people of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Mousavi urged Indian officials to take measures to return the people’s lives to normal as soon as possible, and let them enjoy all their natural and recognized rights.

On August 11, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan held a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the situation in Kashmir.

During the conversation, the Pakistani prime minister highlighted the serious situation in Jammu and Kashmir and stressed that the international community must act urgently to prevent the impending calamity, according to the statement.

"The prime minister underlined that the actions taken by India in a bid to change the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions," Imran Khan's office said in a statement.

"Any change in the demographic structure of Jammu and Kashmir would constitute a violation of international law," it said.

Imran Khan apprised the Iranian president of Pakistan's repeated efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute, urging India to resolve the dispute through peaceful means, in accordance with the longstanding UN Security Council resolutions, his office said.

Rouhani, for his part, while underlining that all possible efforts must be made to keep the regional tensions low, stressed that the Muslims of Kashmir must be able to use their legal rights and interests to be able to live in peace.

Rouhani also expressed his concerns over the killing of people in Jammu and Kashmir.

Both leaders agreed that there is no military solution to the long-standing dispute.

Imran Khan stressed that India should be counselled to immediately resolve the issue under the UN resolutions, the statement said.

NA/PA

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