'UN chief has always welcomed direct talks between India, Pak'

United Nations, Jul 14: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has always welcomed direct discussions between India and Pakistan, his spokesperson has said as he reiterated the UN chief's call to all parties to exercise restraint amid growing tensions in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

"I think the Secretary-General, as we said earlier this week, is obviously following the situation in Kashmir very closely. I think he regretted the loss of life and calls on all the parties to exercise restraint," Ban's spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at the daily briefing here yesterday.

ban ki moon

Dujarric was asked by a Pakistani journalist to comment on reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reportedly expressed "unhappiness" over the media coverage of the violent protests in Kashmir following the killing of Wani.

Dujarric said the Secretary-General "has always welcomed any direct discussions on the situation between India and Pakistan."

He added that while the Secretary-General's good offices are available to India and Pakistan to help them resolve differences, the nations themselves should first ask for such good offices.

"...the Secretary-General's good offices on any issues is a standing offer for anything that is going on, but good offices work when two parties both ask for the good offices," he said.

At least 30 people have been killed and more than 250 injured in the clashes between protesters and security personnel after Wani's killing in an encounter in Kashmir last week. 

The UN has expressed concern over the tensed situation in Kashmir, with Ban calling on all parties to exercise "maximum restraint to avoid further violence and hopes that all concerns would be addressed through peaceful means."


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