Omar Abdullah gets his answer; Norway ex-PM was on private visit to Kashmir, says Sushma Swaraj
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Omar Abdullah gets his answer; Norway ex-PM was on private visit to Kashmir, says Sushma Swaraj

Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik visited Kashmir last month and met senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. He also visited Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir and met a cross-section of people there.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2018 16:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sushma Swaraj,Omar Abdullah,Former Norway Prime minister visits Kashmir
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on October 24, 2017 .(Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo)

In first government reaction to former Norway Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik’s visit to Kashmir last month, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told Rajya Sabha that he was on a private visit to the Valley.

The government had come under attack when Bondevik visited Kashmir in November and met Hurriyat leaders, with former chief minister Omar Abdullah asking Swaraj to explain what the leader was doing in the border state.

“What are the Norwegians up to in Kashmir? Would either @SushmaSwaraj ji or Doval ji care to put the visit of the former Norwegian PM to both sides of the divided state in the correct context or do we have to rely on rumours & conjecture?” Abdullah had tweeted.

In Rajya Sabha on Friday, Swaraj said, “Bondevik was on private visit to India at invitation of Art of Living, he met several people including All Party Hurriyat Conference, the government was not involved in organizing visit,” reports ANI.

Swaraj added that there was no change in government’s consistent position that under Simla Agreement and as reiterated in Lahore Declaration, India and Pakistan are committed to address issues bilaterally. There’s no scope for third party role, she said.

Bondevik visited Srinagar and met senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. He also visited Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir and met a cross-section of people there.

Farooq tweeted photos from the “fruitful meeting” on November 23, saying they have urged Bondevik to help reach a resolution in the restive state as Norway is known to play a “constructive role in conflict resolution across the globe”.

“Fruitful meeting of JRL with Mr Kjell Magne Bondevik,Ex Prime Minister of Norway. As Norway is known to play a constructive role in conflict resolution across the globe urged Mr Bondevik to help in ending the daily killings and urgent resolution of the festering Kashmir dispute (sic),” the Mirwaiz said.

Bondevik was the prime minister when Norway brokered a 2002 ceasefire with the Tamil Tigers that fell apart and led to the final fight that destroyed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 16:50 IST