UNSC President refuses to comment on Pakistan's letter

By Arul Louis

United Nations, Aug 9 (IANS) UN Security Council President Joanna Wronecka has refused to comment on the letter from Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the situation in Kashmir.

Asked about it by reporters, she shook her and murmured "No," before walking away from a media briefing by seven Western countries on Thursday.

Qureshi's letter written on August 1, before India scaled back the special status of Kashmir, was circulated to the members of the Security Council and released by the UN on Thursday.

Wronecka was one of the diplomats who stood by at the briefing where Belgium's Deputy Permanent Representative Karen Van Vlierberge read a statement expressing support for Georgia and criticizing Russia for "intensification" of the border situation there. None of them entertained media questions and walked away.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi, who is on lobbying mission on Kashmir, had met Wronecka on Wednesday.

In his letter, Qureshi had expressed concern about what he said were then "widespread concerns that India is preparing ground to abolish Article 35-A of its Constitution as a first step, followed by the revocation of Article 370".

He also asked Guterres to appoint a special representative for Kashmir and to send a fact-finding team to the area.

Asked about the request, Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at his daily briefing on Thursday: "We're studying it. The Secretary-General is following the situation very closely. The Secretariat is following the situation very closely, but I have nothing to announce or to hint at towards the issue of a special envoy."

In answer to another question if Guterres planned to bring the Kashmir developments to the Council or to brief it, he said: "We've not. I'm not aware of any plans to brief."

With Guterres and General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa away from the headquarters, Lodhi met Rosemary DiCarlo, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on Thursday.

She had met Guterres's Chief of State Maria Louisa Ribeiro Viotti on Wednesday.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

--IANS

al/soni/

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