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Manmohan Singh to meet Pakistan PM at NAM meet

July 12, 2009 21:25 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will meet his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on July 16 on the sidelines of the Non Aligned Movement summit in Egypt "in a bid to restart the stalled peace process" between the two countries. A statement issued by the Prime Minister's office on Sunday said Gilani will hold talks with Singh in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Thursday "in a bid to restart the stalled peace process".

India has demanded that Pakistan should take credible action against perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack. "... we hope they would take some steps in that direction (punishing the perpetrators) and with this hope I will meet Gilani," Prime Minister Singh told reporters while returning home from the Italy after attending the G-8 summit. Gilani, who is set to leave for Egypt on Tuesday to participate in the Non-Aligned Movement summit, telephoned main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Sunday to take him into confidence regarding the upcoming meeting with Singh. "Sharif assured the Prime Minister of his party's full support to the government on Pakistan's stance and the need for resolving all outstanding issues confronting India and Pakistan peacefully through talks," said the statement.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir will meet his Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon ahead of the meeting between Gilani and Singh.
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit has said Pakistan will approach both meetings with an "open mind and a constructive and positive attitude". India put the composite dialogue with Pakistan on hold in the wake of last year's Mumbai terror attacks that killed nearly 180 people. It has linked the resumption of the parleys to Pakistan taking action against the perpetrators of the attack, including members of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

In a bid to clear the air before the meetings, the Pakistan government on Saturday announced that the trial of five LeT operatives accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks will get underway this week. It also said authorities had identified 13 more suspects who were involved in planning and facilitating the attacks. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said investigators have prepared a second chargesheet against the five LeT operatives--including operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi--using information provided by Indian authorities.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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