UN chief calls on India, Pak 'to return to dialogue'

United Nations, Aug 22: As the proposed talks between the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan appeared deadlocked, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on the two sides "to return to dialogue" in the interest of their people and exercise maximum restraint.

The UN chief "would urge both sides to keep the best interests of the civilians in mind and whatever would ensure their safety is paramount," Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Eri Kaneko told PTI here.

"In that vein, he would urge both sides to return to dialogue in the interests of their people," Kaneko said when asked about the proposed NSA-level talks hanging by a thread after India made it clear that Pakistan's insistence on meeting Kashmiri separatists is not acceptable.

Kaneko earlier today told reporters that the Secretary General's message to the governments of India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint and take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians still stands.

The UN chief is "seriously concerned about the reports specially of casualties inflicted upon civilians and he would urge both governments to exercise maximum restraint and to take steps to ensure protection of civilians," she said.

Kaneko added that the Secretary-General had welcomed the upcoming talks between the NSAs and "he would hope that any talks that are supposed to happen would proceed as they were supposed to."


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