Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.

Austin Currie

Question:

44 Mr. Currie asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the fact that the Kashmir problem represents a serious concern to world peace; the Government's policy in relation to the problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3723/02]

The Kashmir question is undoubtedly one of the most serious and destabilising issues in the south Asian region. It has once again brought India and Pakistan close to a war whose effects would be felt throughout the entire region and, indeed, globally.

We have conveyed our position and concerns on this issue to representatives of both Governments here in Dublin. In our meetings we have encouraged Pakistan to carry through its commitment to clamp down on terrorist activities. Drawing on our national experience, the Government has explained that a state can maintain political aspirations while denouncing and outlawing those who wish to achieve such goals through terrorism.

Ireland has encouraged India to accept Pakistan's commitment. Again, drawing on our own experience, we have suggested that India should not give a veto to the enemies of peace by making dialogue with Pakistan conditional on the complete absence of terrorist activity. What is crucial is that the Pakistani Government dissociates itself from such activity and does all in its power to prevent terrorist acts.

I am glad to note that despite the large number of troops amassed on the two countries' border, both countries would seem to have moved back from the prospect of war. I again encourage both Governments to proceed with meaningful dialogue to address the fundamental issues of concern in relation to Kashmir.