Qureshi to come to India in first quarter of 2011


New Delhi : The deadlock between India and Pakistan is expected to persist for a few months, but the two sides are trying for some progress on humanitarian issues like prisoners’ release before Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi comes here next year.

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“Mr Qureshi is most welcome to come to New Delhi in the first quarter of next year,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told journalists here.

Referring to the decision not to have bilateral talks with Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last month, Krishna said he felt that the meeting in New Delhi could be more productive than in New York as India was interested in having constructive discussions.

Recalling his talks with Qureshi in July that ended in mutual recriminations over a host of issues, Krishna said the two sides had decided to pursue discussions on humanitarian issues like the release of prisoners.

“We are willing to encourage it,” he replied when asked whether he expected any positive movement on humanitarian issues.

Krishna had extended an invitation to his Pakistani counterpart when he visited Islamabad in July and the visit had been expected to happen later this year.

But Krishna added that due to a slew of high-level visits this year, the visit has been put off.

Besides US President Barack Obama, who will be here early next month, other high-level visitors to New Delhi this year would include Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.