No bilateral talks between Krishna, Qureshi in Kabul: Rao

The Foreign Secretary ruled out a bilateral meeting between S M Krishna and Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of a conference in Kabul.

Updated: Jul 17, 2010, 23:21 PM IST

New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao Saturday ruled out a bilateral meeting between External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of an international conference in Kabul Tuesday.

"Both Foreign Minister Krishna and Foreign Minister Qureshi will be attending this conference. I don`t believe there will be any bilateral meeting during the conference because the way it is structured and the business that has to be transacted at that conference is not going to leave much time for bilateral meetings to begin with and secondly, they have just met in Islamabad," Rao told a news channel in an interview.

There may, however, be a pull-aside meeting between the two in view of Pakistani leaders making conciliatory statements after the deadlock in the July 15 talks and bitter acrimony that followed the talks.

"Pakistan wants the continuation of dialogue with India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured me that all issues will be discussed," Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in Lahore Saturday.

Qureshi, who took pot-shots at Krishna and accused India of selectively focusing on terror, too appears to have softened down. "We are very serious about normalising our relations with India. I met with my Indian counterpart in Islamabad just day before yesterday. We agreed to embark on a sustained dialogue process," Qureshi said in Islamabad.