UNSC to hold only closed-door talks on Kashmir

BY ARUL LOUIS
Aug 15, 2019
United Nations: Pakistan has failed to get an open meeting of the Security Council on Kashmir with its participation, as the body decided instead to hold a closed-door consultation on Friday at the request of China.

Council President Joanna Wronecka’s press officer Bartiomiej Wybacz told IANS on Thursday, “I can confirm that closed consultations on Kashmir have been scheduled for tomorrow at 10 a.m. The meeting is convened upon request of China.”

Pakistan had asked for a full-fledged meeting of the Council at which it could speak on Kashmir following New Delhi’s decision to rescind Kashmir’s special status under Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution.

Except China, all the other four permanent members of the Council have openly backed New Delhi’s position that disputes between India and Pakistan are bilateral matters, with the United States even saying that the Kashmir developments are an internal matter of India.

After finding that none of the other members of the Council wanted the full-fledged session that Pakistan had requested, China made its own request for the scaled-down closed-door consultation, which would preclude Pakistan speaking at it, according to a diplomat with knowledge of the Council workings.

The format of the Security Council meeting as a closed-door consultation would preclude non-members participating and the proceedings would be secret, without official written records or access to the media or being broadcast.

China first made the request for a closed-door consultation in a letter and then brought it up on Wednesday during the Council’s informal consultations on other subjects, according to a diplomat at the Security Council.

Like Pakistan, China also has a dispute with India over Kashmir having claimed Aksai Chin in Ladakh, which it now controls. Pakistan signed a deal with China in 1963 recognising Chinese sovereignty over some areas of Kashmir it had occupied.

Diplomats told IANS that France and China expressed differences at the consultations on Wednesday.

While China wanted it taken up on Thursday, France said there should be more time given and that rather than being held as a consultation specifically on Kashmir, the topic should be taken up at a lower level as “other matters” – a sort of footnote to a consultation, the diplomats said.

The consultations on Wednesday were on Syria and Central Africa, but China also brought up the request for scheduling a consultation on Kashmir.

If China were to raise human rights issues as — Pakistan had requested — at the consultation it has requested, it could prove to be an embarrassment for it as it has come under international criticism for its treatment of the Muslim minority in its Uighur province, where large numbers of them have been put in camps.IANS