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SOURCE: IANS

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that although he is offering his “good offices” for mediating the Kashmir dispute, India has refused it as it considers it a bilateral matter. Guterres, who is on a visit to Pakistan to show “solidarity” with the victims of the floods, told reporters: “On the other hand, we have been very active in relation to the clear affirmation that human rights must be respected”.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad with Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at his side, he said that he was “always offering” his good offices for mediation”.

“But as you know, the Indian side considers that this is a bilateral matter to be solved only by Pakistan and India, and the mediation of the United Nations has not been accepted until now,” he said according to a UN transcript.

Repudiating Pakistan’s attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue, India cited the Simla agreement of 1972 signed between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who held the office of Pakistan President at that time binding the two countries to resolve disputes bilaterally.

Guterres, who said that he has had “a love affair with the Pakistani people for 17 years”, is visiting the country to highlight his agenda on climate change by presenting the floods there as the prime evidence against global warming.

“This is insanity. This is collective suicide”, he said of the climate change situation and the response to it.

“From Pakistan, I am issuing a global appeal: stop the madness; end the war with nature; invest in renewable energy now.”

“Pakistan and other developing countries, from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, are paying a horrific price for the intransigence of big emitters that continue to bet on fossil fuels, in the face of science, common sense and basic human decency”, he said.

“Some regions of Pakistan have just experienced their wettest August on record. And rainfall in some provinces was up to eight times higher than usual. Climate change is there.”

He has issued a $160 million “flash appeal” for Pakistan and as of Thursday, it had received just over $20 million, according to the UN.