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UN chief urged to redouble efforts for South Asia peace

UN chief urged to redouble efforts for South Asia peace

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s new Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi has urged the UN secretary general to play a more vigorous role in bringing about peace in South Asia and said the matter needed to be handled on a ‘fast track, not slow track’.

In a meeting with the secretary-general after presenting her credentials, Ambassador Lodhi stressed the need for the role and mandate of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to be strengthened and expanded.

It was necessary to do this to prevent ceasefire violations at the LoC and the Working Boundary, a press statement released here by Pakistan Mission said.

The UN chief told Ms Lodhi he wanted to see a resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan. He appreciated Pakistan’s law enforcement efforts aimed at countering militancy.

Mr Ban also told the Pakistani envoy that 2015 would be an important year for the United Nations. The year, he pointed out, was going to be significant for the major summits that would take place on the post-2015 development agenda and climate change. Decisions and deliberations on these and other issues would have an enduring impact on future generations, he added.

The secretary-general recalled his three visits to Pakistan and his meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and appreciated the prime minister’s leadership and role on important issues.

Ambassador Lodhi assured the secretary-general that Pakistan would continue to play a constructive role at the UN and extend its support to him on addressing many challenges being faced in the security, economic and humanitarian fields, as well as on UN reforms.

Pakistan, she said, had a key role in peacekeeping, wanted to contribute to the success of the climate change summit, was actively participating on the post-2015 development agenda, and was in favour of effective and democratic UN reform.

She apprised the secretary-general about Pakistan’s national priorities, which were to establish internal stability by defeating terrorism, promote inclusive economic development, help to stabilise Afghanistan and normalise relations with India on the basis of equality and mutual respect, as well as resolution of outstanding disputes including Kashmir, the press statement said.

She urged the secretary-general to help counter the deliberate misperceptions being spread about Pakistan’s role in combating terrorism.

She also asked the secretary-general to help in promoting peace and stability in South Asia by advocating the resumption of a broad-based dialogue between Pakistan and India aimed at resolving the disputes between them.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2015

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