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‘UN Secretary General always encourages India, Pak for talks’

Ban Ki-moon

United Nations :  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has always encouraged India and Pakistan for dialogue with the Assembly sessions providing a “great opportunity,” a top global body official has said, even as there is “no bilateral meeting on the schedule.”

“The Secretary-General has always encouraged India and Pakistan to have a dialogue, and he has welcomed it when it has happened between various officials, and it is always an issue that he brings up in his various meetings with the Pakistani leadership and with the Indian leadership,” Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said yesterday, when asked if the UN chief will urge both the leaders to meet given that they will be in the town for the UN General Assembly session.

The Assembly sessions provide a “great opportunity” for world leaders to meet either formally or informally, he said.

“The holding of the general debate is always a great opportunity for leaders to meet whether formally or informally, whether with the United Nations or just us giving them the space to do it, so let’s see what happens,” he said.

India has said that during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to the US, no bilateral meeting is scheduled with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

“As of now there is nothing, no bilateral meeting on the schedule,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said.

Modi and Sharif are staying at the same hotel in the city – the iconic Waldorf Astoria.

Modi will address the Sustainable Development Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today when the new and ambitious post-2015 development agenda will be adopted.

Sharif, who is slated for reaching New York today, is scheduled to address the high-level meeting on September 27.

Modi will be in California on September 26 and 27 and will return to New York on September 28, when apart from meeting US President Barack Obama, he will attend the high-level Peacekeeping Summit at the United Nations headquarters.

Since Sharif will also be attending the summit, the multilateral gathering will provide a forum for the leaders of India and Pakistan to come face-to-face.

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