June 2, 2023

France has called for “restraint and de-escalation” in a phone-call with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, asserting that it is “essential to abstain from any measure likely to aggravate tension”.

A French spokesperson put out a statement after the country’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, spoke to his Pakistani counterpart on Tuesday.

“The ministers raised the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian recalled France’s constant position on Kashmir — it is up to the two countries, under the framework of their bilateral political dialogue, to resolve this dispute so as to establish lasting peace,” the French ministry spokesperson said in the statement.

“France makes a call to the parties for restraint, de-escalation, and easing the situation. It is essential to abstain from any measure likely to aggravate tensions,” the statement added.

Pakistan has been attempting to gather support from the world for its stand against India’s decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two union territories.

On Tuesday, Islamabad said it would approach the International Court of Justice – where the estranged neighbours recently faced off over Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian on death row in Pakistan.

France’s statement came hours after US President Donald Trump, once again, offered to mediate on Kashmir, saying: “Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have Hindus and you have the Muslims and I wouldn’t say they get along so great…I will do the best I can to mediate….you have two counties that haven’t gotten along well for a long time and frankly, it’s a very explosive situation.”

Trump had spoken to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani premier Imran Khana day before. He also indicated that he would take up the subject when he meets PM Modi over the weekend in France for a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) industralised nations.

The US president said he had a “great relationship” with both of them. “But they are not exactly friends at this moment. Complicated situation. A lot has to do with religion. Religion is a complicated subject,” he said.

When Trump first offered to mediate, after meeting Imran Khan at the White House last month, India had firmly reiterated its stand against any third-party mediation on Kashmir.

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