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Pakistan hopes to resume talks with India after NAM meet

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
July 09, 2009 17:30 IST
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Pakistan on Thursday said it will approach upcoming bilateral meetings with India, including one between the two prime ministers, with an 'open mind', in the hope for resumption of the composite dialogue, which have been stalled after the 26/11 attacks.

Referring to proposed meetings between the foreign secretaries and premiers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt next week, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said Islamabad would approach the parleys "with an open mind and a constructive and positive attitude".

The foreign secretaries will hold talks before a planned meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, Basit told the weekly news briefing in Islamabad.

Only a positive attitude could help the two countries resolve bilateral problems and Islamabad had 'no fixed ideas' for the upcoming meetings, he said in response to a question about Pakistan's expectations for the talks.

The probe into the Mumbai incident would also be discussed, he said. Though Basit gave no dates for the meetings, the foreign secretaries are expected to meet on July 13 or July 14. The meeting between the two premiers is expected to be held on July 16.

In reply to another question, Basit said there would not be any 'structured dialogue' as the composite dialogue had been suspended in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.

"These will be open-ended meetings as no agenda has been fixed," he said. "Pakistan's effort will be to see that the composite dialogue is resumed as quickly as possible."

India put the composite dialogue on hold after the Mumbai attacks. It has linked the resumption of the parleys to Pakistan taking action against the perpetrators of the terrorist assault -- that killed nearly 180 people -- and the dismantling of the terror infrastructure in that country.

In reply to a question, Basit said Pakistan had received from India the English translation of the testimony of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested for the Mumbai attacks. Islamabad had sought the translated version of the testimony after New Delhi provided documents in Marathi and other languages.

"No other information has been received (from India) since then," Basit said. Basit also said he was 'not aware' of any Track-II diplomacy between India and Pakistan.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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