BY ARUL LOUIS
United Nations, Sep 22 (IANS) Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is vying for the leadership of Islamic nations, brought up the Kashmir issue again at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday calling it a “burning issue”.
He criticised the abolition of the special status of Kashmir last year saying that steps taken after it “further complicated the problem”.
“The Kashmir conflict which is also key to the stability and peace of South Asia is still a burning issue,” he said.
“We are in favor of solving this issue through dialogue within the framework of the United Nations resolutions, especially in line with the expectations of the people of Kashmir,” he added.
The prime Security Council directive on Kashmir, Resolution 47, called for Pakistan to remove its troops and personnel from the region as the first step and a pre-condition for a referendum.
Islamabad has rejected it and continued its occupation allowing for India to settle the matter through elections in Kashmir.
Erdogan avoided naming India directly, while he had named countries in many of the conflicts from Azerbaijan to Armenia that he spoke about.
At last year’s high-level meeting of the General Assembly, only Erdogan and Mahatir Mohammed, the then-Prime Minister of Malaysia, joined Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to talk about Kashmir.
While he condemned terrorism in other parts of the world, Erdogan was silent on the terrorism directed against India.
In his attempt to challenge the Saudi leadership of the Islamic nations, he criticised attempts to bring about reconciliation with Israel, but did not directly mention the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which recently set up diplomatic resolution with Israel, with the apparent approval of Riyadh.
“Participation of some countries of the region in this game does not mean anything beyond serving Israel’s efforts to erode basic international parameters,” Erdogan said.
Turkey itself has diplomatic relations with Israel.
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)