Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Kashmir: The EU should be ready to help - but not to intervene

23rd May 2007

Strasbourg 23rd May -- After a controversial debate in the European Parliament which divided Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives now welcome the vote which says that current bilateral ongoing confidence building talks between the Indian and Pakistani governments remain the best strategy to achieve a just and enduring peace.

Dr Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman, says:

"The EUís role is to support a peaceful settlement of the problem with the EU willing to act as an honest broker for peace but only if both sovereign governments ask for our help as ultimately we regard it as primarily a bilateral matter. This report also highlights for the first time the particular democratic deficit in Gilgit Baltistan and a number of human rights problems in particular concerning women and religious minorities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

"Nevertheless we must encourage both parties to reach a solution. Kashmiri Pandits continue to claim that cross border infiltrating terrorists are attempting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the local Hindu population. Also the Indian military and security forces need to respect human rights, the well being of the civilian populations, and the enforcement of court orders."