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China informs UNSC members it will raise Indo-Pak issue

He is scheduled to have a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres later in the evening.

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United Nations, Jan 15 : China has informed the members of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that it will raise the India-Pakistan issue during a closed door session on Wednesday, according to diplomatic sources.

It is likely to come up after the scheduled session on Mali, when it will adjourn from its chamber to the consultation room for closed consultations.

Rather than focusing on Kashmir, as it did at a consultation in August, China is expected to take a broader approach to India-Pakistan issues by including Kashmir in it and claiming that a serious situation was developing on the subcontinent and asking for a briefing.

For this, China is expected to draw attention to a letter from Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to the Security Council alleging border violations by India and the deployment of more weapons.

In the letter, Qureshi alleged that India had removed parts of the fence on the Line of Control in five sectors and deployed Brahmos and anti-tank and other missiles along the line.

China’s Permanent Representative Zhang Jun had mentioned this letter after his failed attempt to hold consultations on India-Pakistan in December last year.

Qureshi is expected to be at the UN on Wednesday, stopping here on his way to Washington for meetings with US officials on the Iran crisis.

But he will not be here in time for the consultation, and even if he were, he would not be allowed to participate directly.

He is scheduled to have a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres later in the evening.

The official schedule for the Security Council mentions only Mali as the topic of consultations, but there is a provision for raising other issues under the “any other business” category that Beijing wants to utilise, diplomats said.

China last month tried to raise the India-Pakistan and Kashmir issues at a similar consultation, but withdrew its request when it found overwhelming opposition to it.

Diplomatic sources said that Beijing was making a second attempt as the Security Council’s composition changed in January when five non-permanent members retired and were replaced by a fresh set.

It is hoping that it may get support from some of the new members and not be totally isolated as before.

Regardless of the support it gets, China has the right to raise any issue it wants.

While the US was the President of the Security Council in December, Vietnam, a newcomer to the body, has that role now.

Wednesday’s consultation will be similar to the one held in August that focused on the Kashmir issue after the abrogation of Article 370 which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Nothing came out of that meeting, with the members refusing to even allow a statement on the meeting to be issued.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres following Delhi CAA clashes

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, Feb 26 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is following the situation in New Delhi where there have been clashes between pro and anti-CAA groups (Citizenship (Amendment) Act) that claimed lives of 13 people, including a police head constable.

His spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in answer to a question at his daily briefing that people “should be allowed to demonstrate peacefully, and that security forces show restraint. This is SG’s constant position”.

He added, “We are obviously following the situation.”

Later asked by IANS about the killing of Head Constable Ratan Lal, he said, “People need to demonstrate peacefully.”

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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Ex Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak passes away

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Cairo, Feb 25 Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted by the military in 2011, has died in Cairo at the age of 91.

Mubarak spent three decades in office before a popular uprising swept Egypt.

He was found guilty of complicity in the killing of protesters during the revolution. That conviction was overturned and was freed in March 2017.

His death was confirmed by Egyptian state TV on Tuesday, the BBC reported. Earlier in the day, the Al-Watan website reported that he died at a military hospital.

Mubarak underwent surgery in late January and was photographed with his grandson as he recovered.

On Saturday, however, Mubarak’s son Alaa said that the former president remained in intensive care.

Born in 1928, Mubarak entered the air force as a teenager and went on to play a key role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

He became president less than a decade later, following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, and played a key role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

But despite the billions of dollars in military aid Egypt received during his time in office, unemployment, poverty and corruption continued to grow.

Discontent boiled over in January 2011, after similar protests in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the president there. Mubarak was forced to step down 18 days later.

Just over a year after Mubarak’s overthrow, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist politician, won Egypt’s first democratic presidential election.

Morsi himself was ousted by the military in 2013 and died in 2019 while still in prison.

Mubarak, meanwhile, was initially sentenced to life imprisonment over the deaths of some of the 900 protesters who were killed by security forces during the 2011 uprising.

These charges were later overturned and Mubarak was released in 2017.

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Significance of Trump’s statement on Pak can’t be denied: Qureshi

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Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Islamabad, Feb 25 Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said the importance of US President Donald Trump’s statement during his visit to India — in which he said that the US has a “very good relationship” with Pakistan — cannot be denied.

A day earlier, US President Donald Trump, while addressing a packed rally in Ahmedabad after his arrival in India on Monday, said the US has “a very good relationship” with Pakistan, the Dawn reported.

“Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one. Thanks to these efforts, we are beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan and we are hopeful for reduced tensions, greater stability and the future of harmony for all of the nations of South Asia,” Trump had said on the first day of his whirlwind 36-hour visit meant to reaffirm US-India ties.

In a statement released by the foreign minister’s spokesperson on Tuesday, Qureshi said that Trump’s remark about Pakistan was “extraordinary and its importance cannot be denied”.

“Trump wants peace and stability in the region and has asked India to play a positive role in the area and extend a hand for promoting peace and stability in the region.”

The Foreign Minister said that this will only be possible when the Kashmir issue is solved.

“The current Indian government has further complicated an already complicated problem. India’s measures of August 5 have affected the identity of Kashmir and broken it into several parts.

“Kashmir has been under lockdown for 206 days. How can things progress in these conditions?” he questioned.

“Pakistan’s stance on the disturbance caused by the Citizenship Amendment Act in India can be seen by what is happening in Delhi. If conditions worsen, the void of peace in the region can affect the whole world.”

The minister added that India needs to “review its behaviour and policy”.

Qureshi said Trump “made it clear that Pakistan is a partner of peace in the war against terrorism”. He added that the progress Pakistan has made to defeat terrorism is exemplary.

“Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process is there for the world to see… and Pakistan’s role in the region is being commended.

“The Pakistan which India deemed to be a ‘problem’ is now being seen by the world as a ‘solution’.”

He congratulated the “people of Pakistan, the armed forces and the political leadership for the positive change”.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan called “Trump’s expression of friendship with Pakistan while standing in India is a big development”.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Awan said that Trump’s acknowledgement of Pakistan’s positive role in the fight against terrorism has “buried the Indian stance”.

In another tweet, Awan added that “the world’s acknowledgement of Pakistan’s efforts for regional and international peace is a manifestation of our successful foreign policy” and expressed hope that Trump would talk about the Kashmir issue.

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