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FM's Pak visit off to Sept
India, Pak yes to more cross-LoC CBMs
NEW DELHI, July 5: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's visit to Islamabad in July has been pushed further to September when the two foreign ministers may finalise the much-delayed trip of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan. A joint working group to discuss

strengthening of cross-LoC CBMs shall meet on July 19 in Islamabad.

The foreign secretaries of the two neighbours, Ranjan Mathai and Jalil Abbas Jilani, who concluded a 2-day meeting here on Thursday, will meet again in Islamabad at a no firm date fixed to prepare for the foreign ministers' meeting, according to a joint statement issued at the end of the talks, the second round since the resumed dialogue process after 26/11.

Apart from the usual rhetoric to fight and eliminate terrorism posing a continuing threat to peace and security, these talks were not bogged down by the recent arrest of the alleged 26/11 handler Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jindal Hamza as repeatedly predicted by the Indian media.

The usual acrimony and bitterness over drafting the joint statement was rather missing as it was ready almost on Wednesday night and both sides vowed to take the dialogue further.

The only positive outcome of the 2-day interaction was to hold a meeting of the Working Group on cross-LoC CBMs (confidence building measures) in Islamabad on July to streamline existing trade and travel arrangements and propose modalities for introducing additional

cross-LoC CBMs. Both also decided to hold separate expert-level meetings on nuclear and conventional CBMs.

Talking to KTNS after the meeting, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani said his side raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“During our meeting, we emphasised the imperatives of resolving the dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir. We also emphasised the involvement of Kashmiris in dialogue process. We also mentioned that we need to improve the human rights situation and the difficulties people of Jammu and Kashmir are facing . They need to be addressed in the context of CBMs. Some of the CBMs already initiated there have certain difficulties,” he said.

He said Pakistan’s position on Kashmir was very well stated. “For us Kashmir is core dispute. Any impression that the dialogue is coming to an end is incorrect. There is a commitment by two countries they had in January 2004, to find a solution to Jammu and Kashmir acceptable to people of Jammu and Kashmir and parties concerned,” he added.

India and Pakistan held the first round of foreign secretary-level talks here on Wednesday, and sources close to the discussions said they had progressed on a positive trajectory, contrary to gloomy projections made by the media.

The joint statement says the foreign secretaries had "a comprehensive exchange of views on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner" to narrow down divergences.

The revised bilateral visa agreement, however, remains stuck just for its signing that was to take place in May during the home secretary-level talks. Noting that the agreement has been already finalised, all that the two foreign secretaries decided is "to work

for its early signing."

Besides courtesy calls on External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Jilani Thursday evening also opted to call on BJP patriarch, Lal Krishna Advani who, as then home minister, had declared him a persona-non-grata in 2003 and asked to leave India for allegedly funding the Kashmiri separatists as then deputy high commissioner of Pakistan.

On the Indian foreign secretary's assertion to bring the guilty in the Mumbai attack to justice as the biggest CBM, Jilani said Pakistan was always willing for joint investigations, but he rejects any insinuation that the state agencies of his country were involved in the 26/11 attack.

"I emphasize terrorism is the biggest threat to peace and security in the region and bringing the guilty to justice in Mumbai terror attacks would be the biggest confidence building measure of all," Mathai told a joint Press conference. He said the arrest of LeT terrorist Jindal and his ongoing interrogation added urgency to bring perpetrators of

26/11 to justice.

News Updated at : Thursday, July 5, 2012
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