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US asks India, Pakistan to cool down after Myanmar strike

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Washington: While declining comment on India’s strike on militants in Myanmar, the US has asked India and Pakistan to take steps to reduce tensions and move toward resuming dialogue.

“I don’t have a comment on that specific operation,” US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters on Friday when asked if the US supported or was concerned over India’s cross border strike in Myanmar, a move that has raised hackles in Pakistan.

But “we encourage India and Pakistan to take steps to reduce tensions and to move towards resuming talks,” he said.

“The relationship between India and Pakistan is critical to advancing peace and stability in South Asia, so we welcome any steps India and Pakistan can take to reduce tensions and move toward resuming dialogue,” Rathke said.

“We encourage India and Pakistan to take those kinds of steps, and we believe that India and Pakistan each have a mutual interest in addressing the threat posed by violent extremism and terrorism,” he said.

Asked if the US had reached out officially to India or Pakistan to defuse tensions over the Myanmar strike, Rathke said: “Well, we’ve encouraged a reduction of tensions on both sides at high levels, so that’s something we’ve mentioned.”

The spokesman also expressed concern over Pakistan’s crackdown on Save the Children organisation.

Rathke could not say whether the issue had been discussed in Islamabad, “but it’s certainly a matter of concern to us.”

“Save the Children is an international nongovernment organization. They do important work,” he said.

Rathke also did not have an update on expression of similar concern over India blacklisting some NGOs a few weeks ago.

“We expressed our concerns and we’ve raised those with the Indian authorities. I don’t have an update to offer here.”

Earlier in a press statement, Department Spokesperson John Kirby said the US was “concerned about Pakistan’s crackdown on international charitable organizations and other NGOs.”

(IANS)

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President Ram Nath Kovind Pays His Condolences to Former UN Chief Kofi Annan

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 "for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world".

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India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death.
India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death. Flickr

India on Saturday condoled the death of former UN Secretary General and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan with President Ram Nath Kovind expressing his condolences to the former Ghanaian diplomat’s family and the UN community as a whole.

“Sorry to learn of the passing of former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan,” Kovind said on the Rashtrapati Bhavan Twitter handle.

“My condolences to his family and to the UN community,” he stated.

Annan, 80, died on Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, with his wife and three children by his side.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that the former Secretary General of the UN and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” his family said.

Kofi Annan
Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. Flickr

Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

He also led a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar.

The Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi supported Annan’s recommendations on the crisis in the country’s Rakhine State.

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Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”.

His tenure as the UN chief coincided with the Iraq war and the HIV/Aids pandemic. (IANS)

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