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Arab League has 'no position' on Kashmir

Maintaining continuity with the traditional, friendly stance of the Arab world towards India, the Arab League on Monday said it had "no position" on the Kashmir issue.

india Updated: May 16, 2011 21:46 IST
Toufiq Rashid

Maintaining continuity with the traditional, friendly stance of the Arab world towards India, the Arab League on Monday said it had "no position" on the Kashmir issue.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a peace conference organized by the government-appointed Kashmir interlocutors, Arab League ambassador to India Ahmed Salem al Wahishi said: "The League of Arab states has no position on the specific question of Jammu and Kashmir ... we look forward to peaceful coexistence, tolerance and dialogue among different civilizations."

"We want peace to last in West Asia, in South Asia and in whole of the continent," he said.

Earlier, speaking at the "Peace Conference" organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Peace Foundation, Wahishi called Kashmir the most "preferred tourist place" and also a "real paradise".

"The state of Jammu and Kashmir has passed through the violent situation of confusion and hatred for the past 20 years. We follow these sad events," he said.
The separatists, however, were surprised at the statement.

Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said countries that were part of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) were supporting the separatists' "cause of self-determination".

"I don't think the Arab League speaks on issues like this. We are more concerned with the OIC, of which the Arab League is part, and (its) stand is clear. (It supports) our right (to) self-determination," the Mirwaiz said.

The Arab League ambassador's statement comes three days after a European Union delegation, led by its ambassador to India Danielle Smajda, said the Kashmir issue had to be resolved by the people living in the region.

The EU team had cancelled its scheduled meeting with hardline separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani.