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No role for UNMOGIP: India

New Delhi Sept. 18. India today disregarded a call by the United National Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to observe a ``ceasefire'' on September 21, the International Day of Peace, questioning the validity of the group.

``We don't see any role for them (UNMOGIP),'' official sources said while pointing out that India had always held that Indo-Pak. problems had to be resolved bilaterally.

In a statement, the UNMOGIP called upon the parties involved in the Kashmir issue to observe the International Day of Peace on Sunday and appealed to both sides to initiate a ceasefire and prolong the duration of any cessation of hostilities ``for as long as possible''.

The sources said such appeals were an annual feature which were disregarded.

After the 1972 Shimla Agreement, India conveyed to the U.N. that there was no need for the UNMOGIP to continue its presence in this country. ``We don't recognise them,'' the sources said. — PTI

Pak. welcomes call

B. Muralidhar Reddy writes from Islamabad:

Pakistan has welcomed the statement of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We welcome this call by the UNMOGIP to observe September 21 as the International Day of Peace. This statement is in accordance with the United Nations mandate and this fresh call is also in accordance with the U.N. resolution to observe September 21 as the International Day of Peace," a spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Office said.

Islamabad sees the statement as a "vindication" of its stand on Kashmir. The Pakistan Foreign Office claimed that the statement of the UNMOGIP was also in accordance with the mandate given to the UNMOGIP by the Security Council.

"The UNMOGIP is right when it speaks about the conflict over Jammu and Kashmir in which many lives have been lost, and calls for a ceasefire. In fact President Pervez Musharraf has already offered a ceasefire at the LOC and we agree with the UNMOGIP that there should be lessening of tensions," said the spokesperson.

The UNMOGIP was one of the oldest U.N. peacekeeping forces and was an important mechanism, which reported only to the U.N. and was fully supported by the U.N. Secretary-General.

India's argument that the delineation of the Line of Control after 1971 had rendered the UNMOGIP redundant was absolutely untenable and it showed that India was not interested in any peaceful resolution, he said.

Asked to comment on the UNMOGIP's appeal to Pakistan also to help end the conflict and initiate a ceasefire by laying down arms, the spokesperson claimed that Pakistan was not involved in such activities.

The UNMOGIP release on Tuesday called on "the parties involved in the Kashmir issue to observe the International Day of Peace on September 21 and appeals to them to initiate a ceasefire and to do their best to prolong the duration of any cessation of hostilities for as long as possible."

PTI

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