Kashmir crisis: Sri Lanka rejects claims, says ‘it never supported Pakistan’

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In what is being termed as an embarrassment for the country, Sri Lanka has rejected Pakistan’s claims of enjoying President Maithripala Sirisena’s support against Indian decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution in held Kashmir.

“The president acknowledged that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and expressed his desire that this dispute should be resolved according to wishes of Kashmiris under UN [United Nations] Resolutions,” read a statement issued following Pakistani High Commissioner Maj Gen (r) Dr Shahid Ahmad Hashmat’s meeting with the Sri Lankan president Tuesday.

According to the statement, President Sirisena “also offered Sri Lanka’s mediation and facilitation of dialogue between Pakistan and India to re-activate the SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] forum”.

The Pakistani High Commission’s claims, however, were rejected by the Sri Lankan president on Thursday.

“The President’s Media Division wishes to state that the said meeting took place at the request of the High Commissioner of Pakistan and during which he briefed the president about the recent developments with regard to India’s abrogation of Section 370 and annulling of Article 35A of the Constitution of India.”

It added that the president gave a patient hearing to the high commissioner’s views and said that both Pakistan and India have excellent friendly relations with Sri Lanka, adding that the country’s interest is to see the growth of regional cooperation.

“The president did not make any other comment on the issues pertaining to Pakistan and India,” it concluded.

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