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Tuesday, September 8, 1998
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Annan clubs Kashmir with Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 7 (PTI) — UN. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has clubbed the Kashmir issue with the deadlocked peace process in Cyprus, turmoil in Afghanistan and the stalemate in the West Asia peace process, and listed it as one of the causes of concern worldwide.

Reviewing the U.N.’s work last year, the Secretary-General also spoke about "increased tension" between India and Pakistan following their nuclear tests and opposed their demand for recognition as nuclear powers.

"Rising tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and other issues is a major cause of concern as is the stalemated peace process in Cyprus," Mr Annan said in a report on the eve of the 53rd U.N. General Assembly session.

Besides, Kashmir, he listed the stalemate in the West Asia peace process, turmoil in Afghanistan, the escalation of violence in Kosovo, civil war in Sudan and Angola and continuing violence in Congo as the issues causing concern.

He described the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan as a "highly disturbing development" and asked the two nations to refrain from any further testing, adhere "immediately" to the global test ban treaty and freeze their nuclear programmes and development of missiles capable of delivering them.

The nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan increased the tension between them and give the world a "sombre reminder" that non-proliferation cannot be taken for granted, he added.

"The successes of previous years, the indefinite extension of treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, (CTBT) have been called into question this year by the decision of two non-signatories, India and Pakistan, to conduct underground nuclear tests," he said.

Stating that the world is in the "critical moment" of efforts to reduce danger posed by the nuclear weapons, he said any increase in the number of nuclear weapon states will have "serious implications" for peace and security.

"It is, therefore, of utmost importance that the (CTBT), together with the objectives agreed to at the 1995 review and extension conference of the parties to the treaty of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, become universally accepted," he said.

Mr Annan listed among positive developments eight-nation joint declaration on creating a nuclear-weapon-free world and establishment of two ad hoc committees in the conference of disarmament.

One of the committees will negotiate an effective international arrangement to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The other will negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear explosive devices.

Referring to the new review process of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said two nuclear weapons states have already ratified it.

"In the past year, efforts were made to consolidate existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, notably those in Africa and South East Asia and to move towards the establishment of another such zone in Central Asia," he said.

Kashmir was listed among several issues which, he said, were causing concern.

The brief reference to Kashmir and nuclear tests was made in a 32-page report which devoted a major part to the economic problems, effects of globalisation and humanitarian issues. It extensively reviewed the working of the United Nations, process of reforms, ability of the organisation to respond to humanitarian challenges and continuing process of increasing efficiency.back

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