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Monday, November 22, 2004

Reference for Nickerbokker News-2

This is another article from The Daily Times in English. More good news about bi-lateral peace talks between Indio-Pak.

"Aziz-Singh meeting will promote dialogue process
Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said on Monday that the meeting between Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh tomorrow (Wednesday) would help promote the dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We should withhold judgment and wait for the November 24 meeting between the two prime ministers. We hope that gestures from Pakistan will be responded to positively by India,” said the FO through Mr Khan at his weekly press briefing.

The FO said Mr Aziz would be in India today (Tuesday) to hold wide-ranging talks with Indian leaders to resolve all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

The FO hoped for headway at the meetings. Pakistan wanted to invest time and energy in resolving all issues, including Kashmir, so that the people of Pakistan and India could progress, the FO said, stressing the need to maintain the spirit of the New York meeting and move forward to resolve all disputes.

The FO reiterated that it was not possible for Pakistan to show unilateral flexibility to move the peace process forward, for which India also had to respond positively.

It said both sides must show courage and boldness to achieve the goal of peace and prosperity in the region. The FO said Pakistan wished to resolve all differences with India, including Jammu and Kashmir, by peaceful means. Pakistan would continue to engage India in the twin processes of confidence-building and dialogue, which would pave the way for peace, stability and cooperation in South Asia, the FO said.

Regarding mediation for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, the FO said Pakistan and India were talking to each other on all issues and the bilateral track was alive and well. It said it was encouraging for Pakistan that the United States, European Union, China and indeed the rest of the world were interested in the dialogue process and expected positive results. The FO said Pakistan was holding talks with India in full confidence and was making a sincere effort to resolve the Kashmir issue according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It said Pakistan would always protect its interests while talking to India to resolve various issues.

The FO spokesman said there was no cross-border infiltration in held Kashmir and he called this a non-issue. He said the Indian side should refrain from such statements because they did not contribute to the peace process.

Regarding the Baglihar Dam, Mr Khan said the dam’s design did not comply with the Indus Basin Treaty. He said the prime minister would discuss this with the Indian leadership. He said Pakistan was trying to resolve the issue bilaterally but if it is not resolved, Pakistan could ask neutral experts from the World Bank to step in, since the bank was a party to the treaty.

He said it has been agreed in principle that Pakistan and India
would open consulates in Mumbai and Karachi but Pakistan was searching for a suitable site. However, it could open immediately if India handed over Jinnah House to Pakistan, he said.

On terrorism, Mr Khan said Pakistan had adopted a two-pronged strategy to curb it and besides eliminating terrorists, the government had launched a programme for the socio-economic development of the tribal areas and their economic revival.

He expressed confidence that the aggressive anti-terrorism
policies being followed by the government would have long-term positive results. The FO spokesman said President General Pervez Musharraf would be visiting three Latin American countries from November 26 and he would hold bilateral talks with the leaders of Brazil, Argentina and Mexico on enhancing trade and commerce relations. He said Pakistan intended to increase its ties with these countries in all spheres.

“He will be the first Pakistani head of state or cabinet leader to
visit Latin America,” a foreign ministry official told AFP.

General Musharraf will leave for Brazil, Argentina and Mexico on Friday at the start of a six-nation tour, the FO told AFP. He will stop over in Washington after Mexico, en route to London and Paris. Trade between Pakistan and Latin America is “at the moment, modest,” the FO said. Officials in Islamabad and Washington are working to arrange a meeting between Musharraf and US President George W. Bush, who calls his Pakistani counterpart his “good friend.”

He said Pakistan did not support an increase in the number of
permanent members on the UN Security Council because it did not want a new centre of privilege in the United Nations. He said Pakistan wanted to democratise the international body with more representation for developing countries."