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'Pak too can put preconditions for starting dialogue'

Source: PTI
February 28, 2010 21:27 IST
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Three days after the foreign secretaries meeting, Pakistan on Sunday said it is ready to participate in the composite dialogue process with India provided there are no preconditions from the other side.

"The ball is in India's court. We are ready for a proper process of composite dialogue," foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said, adding that Pakistan could participate in the process if India did not set any conditions.

Basit made the remarks while responding to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that there is no other way but the composite dialogue for the solution of disputes between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan too can set a number of preconditions for starting a dialogue but 'it believes in settlement of bilateral issues with India through a positive negotiation process,' he told a TV news channel.

"We welcome the Indian desire for resumption of composite dialogue," Basit said, adding that Pakistan has always been making efforts in this regard.

The Pakistani delegation that visited India last week for the foreign secretary-level talks had gone with a positive approach, he said.

"We have given a roadmap to the Indians and now it depends on them as and when they respond to this roadmap positively," he added.

His remarks came three days after foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi.

The continuity of dialogue is in the interest of Pakistan and India as well as the entire region, Basit said.

Pakistan is not desperate for dialogue with India but as both countries are nuclear powers, it is in their mutual interest to settle differences and disputes through negotiation for the security of the entire region, he said.

"It is imperative for Pakistan and Indian to work in a cooperative mode to address the issue of terrorism," Basit said.

To make the peace process hostage to "the pretext of one single incident was not a mature approach," he contended. "We will keep on trying to get engaged with India in a meaningful, purposeful and result-oriented dialogue process," he said.

It was the success of Pakistan's diplomatic efforts that India had acknowledged that the composite dialogue process had proved beneficial for the region, he claimed.

Responding to a question, Basit said the foreign secretary-level meetings without any agenda would yield no results.

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