UN Secretary general welcomes Pakistan, India talks

UNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on Monday welcomed the recent talks between the Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers in New York on Sunday.

According to a statement released from Moon’s office, the Secretary General noted this following a meeting with the Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid at the UN headquarters in New York.

Moon thanked India for its significant contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations and its generous assistance to development of Afghan security, economic and human capacities.

The two also discussed developments in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Myanmar, and India’s regional role.

At their much anticipated meeting in New York on Sunday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh pledged to find ways to restore calm on their disputed border in Kashmir as an initial step towards reconciliation.

An Indian official said that the two leaders have decided to task senior military officers to “find effective means to restore the ceasefire” in Kashmir.

“Both agreed that the precondition for forward movement in the relationship, which they both desire, is really an improvement of the situation on the Line of Control,” IndianNational Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told reporters.

He said that Premier Nawaz also promised “there would be action” on punishing extremists over the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and said the talks were friendly.

“Both India and Pakistan desire a better relationship. The meeting was useful and provided opportunity for high-level contact,” Menon said. But, he added, “As for how useful and productive the meeting was, I think the only proof will be in the months to come.”