India, Pak Foreign Minister Hold Talks in Triesty

With a view to take stock of bilateral relations, Foreign Ministers of Indian and Pakistan hold a talk on the sidelines of a G8 Outreach meeting in Triesty, Italy on Friday. The meeting was held in line with the bilateral direction Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari set in earlier this month.

“I am glad that this international conference has provided an opportunity for bilateral meeting with my counterpart from Pakistan,” External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said to the media after his talks with Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

“In my meeting today, we have reviewed the current status of India-Pakistan relations. These have remained under considerable stress and the primary cause of this is the terrorist attacks on India, by elements based in Pakistan,” he added.

The minister said that he and his Pakistani counterpart also have a concord on the point that the bilateral relationship had a “vast potential.

“I conveyed the sentiments of our Prime Minister that we stand ready to meet Pakistan more than half way to utilise and harness that potential for our mutual benefit. At the same time, we have to address centrally why our relations come under stress recurrently.”

He said that he also conveyed the importance of the forthcoming meeting of Foreign Secretaries, as was decided by Singh and Zardari in Russia. “[That] will enable us to take stock of where we stand on the issue of terrorism and the fulfilment by Pakistan of its assurance that its territory would not be used for terrorist attacks on India.”

Brushing aside speculations on the proposed talks hitting procedural or substantial obstacles, senior officials told The Hindu that the two sides were still looking at dates for the Foreign Secretaries meeting that will set the stage for the next high-level encounter between India and Pakistan at the Non-aligned summit in Sharm-el-Shaikh, Egypt in mid-July.

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