Told Kashmiri leaders work via peaceful methods, don’t share their views: Ex Norway PM


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After meeting the Kashmiri leaders in the valley last week, the former Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, said that he told the groups that he does not share their views and that they must work through peaceful methods to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Bondevik, who heads the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, had a conversation on phone with the media organisation The Indian Express and expressed that his visit was “useful” and helped him to “get an overview” of the problem.

Bondevik made a surprise visit to the Valley last week, during which he met Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, two of the three leaders of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL). He also met members of the chamber of commerce and the Bar Association.

Being asked about his role in the conflict resolution, Bondevik asnwered that he was invited by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar to visit the Valley.

“If I am asked to play a role by both (governments of India and Pakistan), I am willing to do so,” he said and underlined that there was no such invitation at the moment from the Indian side.

Bondevik also mentioned that he is not naive and understand that general elections are coming in India, and it wont be a right time to talk about an Ind-Pak dialouge.

But, he said, at the same time, “we can’t ignore the fact that the international community is interested in the issue, there have been UN resolutions on Kashmir, and recently, there was a report of the UN Human Right Commission. So there is an international interest”.

If India and Pakistan could solve the matter without help, “it is good, then they must come to the table because the situation in Kashmir is escalating”. He said, “I am convinced there is no military solution to the Kashmir problem”.

According to him, Art of Living, which he described as a “good partner in peace efforts” and had several humanitarian projects running on the ground in Kashmir, organised his meeting with Srinagar Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran, who then helped him meet others in the Valley.

After his return from Srinagar, Bondevik said he stopped over in Delhi, and met MP Maheish Girri who he understood to be “close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

After his visit to Srinagar, Bondevik visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, where he met President Sardar Masood Khan.

“I was also able to visit the Line of Control. It was very useful to see this with my own eyes, what it is like there for the people who are living there, to understand the problems they face,” said the ex-Norwegian Prime Minister.

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