Krishna, Qureshi to talk in Islamabad, all issues on table


New Delhi/Islamabad : The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, who spoke on phone Tuesday, will meet in Islamabad July 15 to discuss “all outstanding issues” and take forward the stalled peace process between their two countries.

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Addressing reporters in New Delhi after the conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said he would go to Islamabad July 15 and the talks would cover “all outstanding issues” between the estranged neighbours.

“The foreign minister of Pakistan has invited me to go to Islamabad on the 15th of July. So I am planning to visit Islamabad for my talks with foreign minister Qureshi and I am looking forward to the talk”,” he said after the 30-minute talk.

“Let us hope that these talks will be helpful in bringing our two countries closer together,” Krishna added.

Hoping that that the discussions would be marked with “cordiality” and be “fruitful”, Krishna said outstanding issues would be discussed and resolved by “mutual trust and mutual respect”.

The proposed meeting between Krishna and Qureshi follows talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Bhutan April 29. The two leaders mandated their foreign ministers to meet and work out modalities for restoring trust between the two countries.

Before the July 15 meeting, Home Minister P. Chidambaram would visit Islamabad June 26 for the meeting of SAARC home ministers and meet his Pakistani counterpart to lay the groundwork for the foreign ministers-level talks, Qureshi said in Islamabad.

Echoing Krishna, Qureshi said “all outstanding issues of mutual concern” would be discussed when the two foreign ministers meet.

Qureshi stressed that it would be Pakistan’s effort to insulate the dialogue process from terror attacks.

“We will not allow terrorism to impede the peace process,” the Pakistani minister told reporters, adding that both sides should try to make the peace process “irreversible”.

India suspended the composite dialogue with Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai carnage in which several Pakistani nationals were involved.

Qureshi and then Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee last met for structured bilateral talks, as part of the composite dialogue process, on the fateful night of Nov 26, 2008, barely a couple of hours before 10 Pakistani terrorists unleashed mayhem in Mumbai.

Since then, the two foreign ministers have met on the sidelines of various multilateral summits, including the Non-Aligned Movement in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in July 2009 and the UN General Assembly in New York in September last year.