70 minutes of one-on-one
Thimphu, Apr 29: For 70 minutes, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani met today without any aide and came out with an outcome that could lead to forward movement in the bilateral ties.
Meeting in the cool climes of Bhutan, far away from the sultry heat of Delhi and Islamabad, the two leaders broke the 17-month ice after heart-to-heart talk over the entire gamut of bilateral relations that included difficult issues like terrorism.
Singh and Gilani, who held 90-minute discussions, were alone in a room of Bhutan House in SAARC Village for 70 minutes, sources said.
“Even a note-taker was not there,” said a source, adding the
two leaders appeared to have been on an exercise to know each other and the difficulties in total privacy.
Initially, delegations of both sides accompanied Singh and Gilani. However, after they were introduced by their leaders, the delegation members were asked to leave the room.
After the one-on-one meeting, the two leaders called in their Foreign Ministers, Foreign Secretaries and some senior officials. Singh and Gilani told the delegation members about their discussions and gave the directions.
After the meeting was over, the two Prime Ministers, who had come to the Bhutan House in their respective vehicles, walked down together for some distance, chatting while the delegation members followed.
Summing up the sense of the meeting, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “I saw that positive spirit on both sides. The two PMs were chatting as friends. Dr Singh said the relationship that I want between India and Pakistan should be such that we address each other by first names. I should be able to pick up the phone and call PM Gilani whenever I want it,” Qureshi recounted.
Hailing Singh, the Pakistan Foreign Minister said, “he has his heart in the right place. He is a well-meaning man. He is an academic. He is a visionary. He wants to move on.”
“I think, the climate has already changed. We were in this beautiful weather of Thimphu and the outcome of this meeting has changed the climate between India and Pakistan,” Qureshi said, adding; “I think ambience does count”.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 29 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 29 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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