UN chief calls on India, Pakistan to solve disputes through dialogue

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on India and Pakistan to solve all disputes through dialogue despite the recent tension between the two countries over the Mumbai terrorist attack, Xinhua reported.

In an interview with the local daily the Hindu published on Saturday, Ban said all issues between India and Pakistan, including Kashmir, should be "resolved harmoniously through dialogue."

Describing the Mumbai attack in November last year as a "crime against humanity" which he said is totally unacceptable, Ban said this attack should strengthen the international community's resolve to work on a "comprehensive international convention on terrorism."

Ban arrived in New Delhi Thursday for attending a meeting on sustainable development and climate change organized by a local institution. He held talks with Indian Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee and political leader Sonia Gandhi during his stay here.

India has urged the UN chief to pressure Pakistan over the Mumbai attack, saying that it has "concrete evidence" the attack was planned in Pakistan. Pakistan has denied it.

Ban said the fight against terrorism should be done by any government "voluntarily" rather than through outside pressure.

"In investigating and addressing terrorism, that should be done voluntarily by any member state (of the UN) even before any pressure, so-called pressure, comes," he was quoted as saying by the Hindu.

Ban also said that he is convinced the Pakistani government is "committed to addressing terrorism" and would cooperate fully with the Indian government over the Mumbai attack.

He said Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has told him the Pakistani government will "enact the legislation to allow them punish those Pakistani people who engage in terrorist acts outside Pakistan."

Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Friday he had apprised Ban Ki-moon on Thursday about the details of the Mumbai attacks, which he said were carried out by elements based in Pakistan.

"I requested the UN Secretary General to look into those aspects and ensure that Pakistan fully implements its own commitments which it has given to India and the international community several times," Mukherjee said.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in the Mumbai attack.

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