Patience and political prudence needed to ease India-Pakistan tensions – Annan

Patience and political prudence needed to ease India-Pakistan tensions – Annan

Warning that all of Asia would feel the effects of a new conflict in the region, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today stressed the need for a measured and prudent approach to ease the current tensions between India and Pakistan.

"The entire continent would be deeply affected by any new conflict or instability," Mr. Annan said in a message to the summit meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building in Asia that is taking place in Almaty, Kazakhstan. "Therefore, patience and political prudence must prevail, and a broad range of prevention tools should be applied."

“The aim of conflict prevention must be not merely to postpone violence for a few weeks or months, but to build the foundations of sustainable peace,” he said in the message that was delivered on his behalf by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Danilo Turk.

"This requires a comprehensive prevention strategy which encompasses a range of instruments, from the political to the diplomatic, humanitarian and developmental," Mr. Annan said. Calling the current situation "deeply worrying," he stressed that the "promise of development, prosperity and the advancement of universal human values could be threatened by war and conflict."

The Secretary-General also called for a comprehensive strategy to combat the menace of terrorism, involving not only a vigorous response, but also action against poverty, economic inequality and political exclusion, which can lead to extremism. “I am thinking in particular of the need to ensure sustained and long-term political and economic assistance to Afghanistan as it emerges from years of anarchy and instability,” he said.