Pakistani, Indian diplomats meet to prepare for ministerial meeting

17:03, June 24, 2010      

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Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan on Thursday opened bilateral talks to remove misunderstanding and chalk out steps to counter terrorism, officials said.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, in the first official visit to Islamabad since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, met her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir to discuss to resume the composite dialogue process.

Rao and Bashir first held one-to-one talks and later joined by delegations from both sides.

Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart asked the top diplomats to prepare the ground for a meeting of the foreign ministers from both countries.

On her arrival on Wednesday, Rao said that the visit was a kind of exploration for reducing trust deficit that exists between the two countries.

"We are going there with a clear-eyed understanding of these difficulties and complexities," she said.

"I can't come before you and say that there is a magic formulae with which we can solve these problems. We can't just wave a wand and expect everything to disappear suddenly. I think we have to clear-eyed and be realistic," Rao said.

Rao will also call on Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, officials said.

Foreign Secretary Bashir told media that the meeting would essentially prepare the ground for the meeting of the Foreign Ministers on July 15 in Islamabad.

"We will see what can be identified as doable, and then take it to the Foreign Ministers-level. In this meeting, we will try and find a common denominator. There has to be a comfort level on both sides, which will help us pick up the doable for the Foreign Ministers," he said.

India had put a pause on talks with Pakistan after the wake of the Mumbai attacks, blamed on the Pakistan-based terror group Lashker-e-Taiba.

Officials of the two neighboring countries have since met only on the margins of international or regional forums but have not yet agreed to resume the stalled composite dialogue process.

Source: Xinhua


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