New Delhi: Saudi Arabia’s minister of foreign affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, on Wednesday, September 20, said the Jammu and Kashmir conflict is a “pressing challenge” to the security and stability of the region and that the Kingdom is “unremitting in its efforts to mediate” between the parties involved in the conflict.
He made these remarks in a meeting of the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir was formed in 1994 to voice the OIC’s point of view and meets regularly.
According to the Saudi-based newspaper Arab News, Prince Faisal said that Saudi Arabia stands by “Muslim peoples in their efforts to maintain their Islamic identity and preserve their dignity”. He said the Jammu and Kashmir issue is a pressing challenge to the security and stability of the region and must not remain unresolved, offering the Kingdom’s services to mediate.
“Such efforts are in line with Saudi Arabia’s unwavering stance in support of Islamic peoples,” he said, according to the report. New Delhi has repeatedly rejected international mediation on the Kashmir dispute, saying it is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.
Prince Faisal’s remarks come days after India and Saudi Arabia inked eight pacts for cooperation in a range of areas – including investment, digitisation and saltwater desalination. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi’s de facto ruler, stayed back in India after the G20 summit in New Delhi for a one-day state visit on September 11.
During the G-20 summit, India and Saudi Arabia – along with the United States and the European Union – announced an ambitious plan for an economic corridor that would link Indian ports through shipping and rail links to Europe via the Gulf region to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, in a statement, said that during the ministerial-level meeting on the sidelines of the 78th UNGA Session in New York, called on the international community to take “concrete steps to resolve this conflict based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions”. The international community should “intensify its efforts to settle the issue of Jammu and Kashmir”, OIC’s secretary-general Hissein Brahim Taha – who chaired the meeting – said.
Pakistan foreign minister Jalil Abbas Gilani provided an “update on the current situation in the region”, according to the statement. Jilani thanked the secretary-general and the Contact Group members for their “unwavering support of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute” and “highlighted several instances of human rights violations in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir region”, OIC said.