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EU can act as 'honest broker' for a Kashmir peace process - Liz Lynne

October 14, 2010 12:01 AM
Originally published by Liz Lynne

Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne has called for Kashmiri organisations and political parties on all sides to invite the European Union to act as an 'honest broker' and kickstart a peace process in the troubled province.

Liz spoke out today after a seminar on the conflict was held at the European Parliament in Brussels to mark the 6th Annual Kashmir Week.

Liz Lynne, who has several hundred thousand constituents with close family links to Kashmir in her West Midlands constituency, has campaigned for 20 years for a just resolution to the conflict which involves the Kashmiri people, at both the Westminster and European Parliaments.

Liz Lynne said: "This is the sixth Annual Kashmir week and it is being held when violence and human rights outrages once again threaten to cause a dangerous crisis.

"It is a shame that bipartite dialogue has not given real momentum to a peace process. I sincerely hope we are not here next year or in 10 or 20 years time still repeating the same arguments about the need for action but without real progress to peace.

"The EU, especially through the new external action service, could play a role as an 'honest broker' to help a genuine multilateral process, as Senator Mitchell did in Northern Ireland .

"But that cannot happen unless India and Pakistan and the Kashmiri people come together and invite the EU to take up this independent role.

"George Mitchell succeeded because he did not tell one side or another what to do, he acted as a facilitator for a process which involved all sides and all shades of opinion, not just the British and Irish government or Sinn Feinn and the IRA.

"Tragically, we are once again seeing civilians suffering due to a spiral of violence and human rights violations. Many people have died, with crowds of protesters facing force from the Indian security forces.

"The Indian authorities must investigate abuses of human rights and to stop their soldiers using live ammunition when dealing with demonstrations by civilians. Innocent people are dying.

"I hope Britain , America and the EU will continue to press for dialogue and progress. Kashmir is an immensely dangerous conflict that cannot just be abandoned as too difficult. The risks of all out conflict involving two nuclear powers are too great.

"The only way to end the violence is to give all sides hope that there is another way. Renewed dialogue between India and Pakistan governments is important but a peace process will only succeed if it involves the Kashmiri people.

"All sides involved need to agree that a wider process which goes beyond entrenched positions is necessary, and invite the EU to act as a genuine honest broker. If this happens, I and many other MEPs will do their utmost to ensure that Europe rises to the challenge."