India, Pak to talk on Feb 25
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REZAUL H LASKAR
Islamabad, Feb 12: Pakistan Friday announced that the foreign secretary-level talks with India will be held in New Delhi on February 25 during which it will raise all “core issues” and the need for their “expeditious resolution through resumption of Composite Dialogue”.
“It was decided that foreign secretary level talks between the two countries would be held on February 25 in New Delhi,” Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement here.
A decision on holding the foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi on February 25 was taken at a meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the PM’s house here this morning.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had invited her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir to New Delhi for talks. India says the talks would be focussed on terrorism, but would be ready to discuss any other issue that Pakistan raises.
India had proposed February 18 and 25 for the meeting in New Delhi.
During the talks, the Pakistan side should raise all the “core issues and impress upon India the need for the expeditious resumption of the Composite Dialogue”, the statement said.
Gilani directed Bashir, who was also present in the meeting, that the talks with his Indian counterpart should be “result-oriented and meaningful.”
Jamiat-e-Ulema Islami chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chairman of the Parliamentary committee on Kashmir, also attended today’s meeting that discussed the “whole gamut of Pak-India relationship, particularly the Kashmir and water disputes between the two countries”, the statement said.
However, there was no confirmation from the Indian side about the dates, with external affairs ministry officials in New Delhi saying they were yet to receive any formal communication from Pakistan.
The proposed foreign secretary level talks have raised hopes of a thaw in relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Rao and Bashir had earlier met in New York in September last year to review the progress made by Pakistan into the Mumbai attacks.
India and Pakistan began a formal dialogue in 2004 on a number of key issues, including the long-running dispute over Kashmir.
India, however, suspended the composite dialogue in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks and linked the resumption of the process to Pakistan taking action against the perpetrators of the assault.
India’s latest overture is being interpreted as a result of pressure from the United States, which is keen to keep South Asia trouble-free while deploying tens of thousands more troops into battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Earlier, the Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit at a briefing urged India not to attach any conditionalities and said; “Without engagements we cannot resolve our disputes and unless we resolve disputes, there cannot be viable peace and prosperity in the region.” PTI
(With inputs from IANS)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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