Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Now OIC appoints special envoy on Kashmir

In a significant development the Organization of Islamic Conference, an international organisation with a permanent delegation to the United Nations, has appointed a special envoy on Jammu and Kashmir. The OIC appointed Abdullah Bin Adbul Rahman Al Bakr as the special envoy on Kashmir. The OIC would be first such organisation to appoint the envoy. 

In January, this year when Obama administration appointed Richard Holbroke as new U.S envoy to South Asia, Kashmir was expected in his brief. 

But Holbrooke, the veteran negotiator of the Dayton accords, was officially named "special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan." But the omission of Kashmir from his title was noticeable. Newspapers reported that India vigorously -- and successfully -- lobbied the Obama transition team to make sure that neither India nor Kashmir was included in Holbrooke's official brief.

Interestingly during his campaign Obama himself had proposed a special envoy to deal with Kashmir. Obama had told Times, that working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve their Kashmir conflict would be a critical task for his administration's efforts to try to counter growing instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Kashmir in particular is an interesting situation where that is obviously a potential tar pit diplomatically," Obama had said. "But, for us to devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially make the argument to the Indians, you guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this? ... I think there is a moment where potentially we could get their attention. It won't be easy, but it's important." Obama had also suggested in the interview that he had discussed the special envoy idea with former President Bill Clinton.

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