Pakistan, Indian to hold high level meeting in Bhutan

12:10, January 09, 2011      

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Pakistan said Saturday that its top diplomat will meet his Indian counterpart in Bhutan next month, raising hope for resumption for dialogue process.

Foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet on the sidelines of a meeting of senior diplomats from the regional countries in the first week of February.

"The foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet on the margins of the SAARC Standing Committee meeting scheduled to take place in Thimphu on 6-7 February 2011," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC) groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Pakistani statement did not give details as what the foreign secretaries will discuss but sources said they will review options on how to bring on track the peace process.

The statement came hours after Indian Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna said he has invited his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi to visit India for talks on bilateral issues.

"I have invited my Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi to visit India," Krishna told media after attending Kabul Donors Conference on Saturday.

Sources said that Pakistan will make decision about the foreign minister's India visit after the Foreign Secretaries talks in Thimphu.

Qureshi was invited to New Delhi by his Indian counterpart SM Krishna in July 2010 and the invitation was renewed on Friday.

Qureshi has been quoted by Pakistani media as saying that he will go ahead with the visit only if it results in "substantial, meaningful and result-oriented talks."

The Pakistani foreign minister was scheduled to visit Delhi in November but was postponed due to coolness in relations.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said Friday that Pakistan is committed to resuming dialogue with India but the foreign secretaries first decide an agenda.

India stopped the so-called composite dialogue with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, blaming on Pakistan-based militant group Lashker-e-Taiba.

India has been asking Pakistan to take action against the planners of the Mumbai attacks and eliminate what it calls terrorist training centers on its soil.

The meeting of the two foreign secretaries will be the first since September last year, when they met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting but they had failed to make any breakthrough.

Source: Xinhua
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