Krishna`s schedule of meetings was altered
An inexplicable last-minute switch in the schedule of External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Thursday afternoon gives a clue to how the script went wrong in the Indo-Pak talks in Islamabad.
New Delhi: An inexplicable last-minute switch in the schedule of External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Thursday afternoon gives a clue to how the script went wrong in the Indo-Pak talks in Islamabad.
Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi were said to have made good progress during their first session of talks which started at 11 am and lasted for
nearly five hours, well beyond the schedule. The two also had a working lunch.
Krishna`s schedule was to leave at 3.20 pm and to reach Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani`s office to meet him at 3.30 pm. The call on President Asif Ali Zardari was to follow at 5.30 pm at the Presidential palace.
Just 15 minutes prior to his departure, Krishna was informed that the order has been reversed and the call on Zardari will precede.
In the time slot Krishna was to meet Gilani, Pakistan`s powerful army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani met the Prime Minister. Kayani had also met Zardari.
According to the official release issued after Kayani`s meetings with Pakistan`s political leadership, the army chief discussed the security situation in the country and
operational matters of the army.
However, when the talks resumed after Krishna`s two call-ons, the atmosphere totally changed and Pakistan took an unexpectedly stringent posture leading to the deadlock at the talks.
Many commentators in India feel that it was Pakistani army which put spokes in the way of progress between India and Pakistan.
Hanoi: Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed "deep concern" at the sinking of a South Korean warship, says a draft document which fails to assign blame.
"We expressed deep concern over the sinking of (the) ship Cheonan and the rising tension on the Korean peninsula," says the draft ahead of the 10 foreign ministers` annual talks, which begin in Vietnam on Monday.
The discussions culminate on Friday in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia-Pacific`s largest security dialogue which will be attended by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
South Korea has said it wants ARF to condemn North Korea for the torpedo attack which broke the corvette in two in March with the loss of 46 lives. Pyongyang vehemently denies involvement despite the findings of a multinational investigation, and says it is ready to retaliate if it is punished.
Foreign ministers of North and South Korea as well as from Japan, Russia, China and Europe are among those expected at the ARF meeting.