In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban urged both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation. “He calls on the Governments of Pakistan and India to address their outstanding issues, including regarding Kashmir, peacefully through diplomacy and dialogue. His good offices are available, if accepted by both sides,” the statement concluded.In an earlier statement, the UN chief condmned the 18 September attack in Uri, India-administered Jammu and Kashmir, and said “the United Nations is following developments closely and shares the concerns of people living in the region for peace.” The statement added that Mr. Ban hopes that all involved would prioritize the re-establishment of stability and prevent any further loss of life.The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the contested area between India and Pakistan. According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations. UNMOGIP currently comprises 41 military observers and a number of civilian staff members.