Indian, Pakistani PMs to meet
COLOMBO: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani
counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani will meet in Colombo tomorrow on the
sidelines of the SAARC summit, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi said yesterday.
The decision was taken after visiting Indian External Affairs
Minister Pranab Mukherjee held a one-hour meeting with his Pakistani
counterpart on the sidelines of the SAARC Council of Ministers’ meeting
“I am happy to report that our meeting today was very comprehensive
and a cordial one and we discussed all our issues in a very frank,
candid and open manner. And we will share our thoughts with the
respective prime ministers,” Qureshi told reporters.
“We have agreed mutually that on the 2nd of August the two prime
ministers will meet here in Colombo and after their meeting we will come
out with a comprehensive statement on our bilateral engagement,” Qureshi
There was no immediate reaction from the Indian side. India and
Pakistan have begun the fifth round of their composite dialogue process.
Qureshi said that Pakistan was always willing to discuss difficult
issues with India and wanted to maintain very good bilateral relations.
“To say the least, a lot of steam has been let out of the pressure
cooker. I always walk into the room with my Indian counterpart, but most
importantly I would like to walk out smiling. And today, I walked out
smiling,” he said.
Asked whether Mukherjee reciprocated the sentiment, Qureshi said: “He
had a bigger grin.”
The two foreign ministers had met in New Delhi in July to resume the
peace process between the two countries.
“The dish we are cooking is for the betterment of both the countries
and for the entire region,” Qureshi maintained.
Commenting on the truce violations, Qureshi said there were “very
solid mechanisms” in place to bilaterally address issues of this nature
and expressed optimism that such incidents “would not and should not”
impact the truce that has been in place since November 2003.
“Pakistan has a deep interest in maintaining the ceasefire. Pakistan
feels that both countries have gained through this mutual restraint and
respect shown by each other.
If elements try to disturb peace on the LoC we have solid mechanisms
to deal with them,” Qureshi maintained.