'Irreversible' dialogue declared by India and Pakistan gets warm support from Annan

'Irreversible' dialogue declared by India and Pakistan gets warm support from Annan

Ahead of his visit to the region this week, United Nations Secretary-General today expressed his warm support for the efforts by India and Pakistan to advance the ongoing dialogue which the two countries have now declared is "irreversible."

"[The Secretary-General] welcomes the joint statement issued by the leaders of the two countries this weekend which outlined additional confidence-building measures aimed at achieving durable peace in the region" Mr. Annan's spokesman said in a statement. "In particular, he is encouraged by their declaration that the dialogue had become 'irreversible.'"

Mr. Annan will be heading to the region tomorrow, where he will first attend the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta, and then mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia. From Jakarta, he goes to New Delhi, where he will make a two-day official visit to India.

Meanwhile, in another regional matter, Mr. Annan was asked during a press encounter at UN Headquarters in New York if he would meet with representatives from China and Japan during his trip. The Secretary-General said he believed that both of them will be at the Indonesia meeting, and added: "I'll have lots of bilaterals with all of them, lots of leaders, and I hope, as I have indicated, they will continue their dialogue and try and resolve their differences peacefully."

"[Both China and Japan] have lots of relationships, on all fronts – political, economic and social – and I hope those important aspects of their relationship will encourage them to resolve their differences," Mr. Annan said.

Asked whether representatives of the two sides would meet during the conference in Indonesia and whether such a meeting might "calm things down," Mr. Annan said it always helps each time there was a meeting of that kind.

"I know that the Japanese Foreign Minister, I believe, is in China for meetings. If they meet at the summit in Indonesia, it would also be helpful, and I would encourage them to do that," he said.