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LIB DEMS SUPPORT KASHMIRI RIGHT TO A PLEBISCITE

May 16, 2007 12:53 PM

The Lib Dems in the European Parliament have today backed an amendment drafted by Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne, who is a member of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights and a long-term campaigner for a peaceful resolution on Kashmir, stressing the right of the Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination through a plebiscite.

Speaking after a crucial vote in the Liberal and Democrat Group Meeting, Liz Lynne MEP, President of the Liberal Democrats Friends of Kashmir said:

"As Liberals and Democrats, we must support the oppressed people of Kashmir's right to self determination. Now is not the time for backward, static thinking. At this crucial stage, all options should be on the table for the parties to negotiate, with full involvement of the Kashmiri people.

"Plebiscites are tried and tested tools for peoples to exercise their established right to self determination. I would like to see a plebiscite with the three options available for the Kashmiri people: being part of Pakistan, India or independence."

"A balanced and constructive resolution from the European Parliament could add real momentum to the positive moves already being made by India and Pakistan. Anything less, could be quite damaging. Our amendments seek to retain such a balance and ensure the Kashmiri people are at the heart of this European Parliament Resolution.

"Europe should be encouraging India and Pakistan to talk, but the only way that we can achieve a just and lasting solution is by allowing the Kashmiri people to be at the forefront of the process. After all, it is their political aspirations and human rights that the European Union has a duty to highlight and protect."

ENDS