‘Ready for talks, Pak must end support to terror’

Amid speculation about an Indo-Pak bilateral meeting here this week, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao Tuesday said that talks between the two neighbours were necessary.

New York: Amid speculation about an
Indo-Pak bilateral meeting here this week, Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao Tuesday said that talks between the two neighbours
were necessary but asked Pakistan to first stop supporting
terrorism against India originating from its soil.

"I don`t think attention should be deflected away from
the concerns that we have about terrorism and the need for
Pakistan to fulfill its assurances that it will not support
terrorism against India from its soil," she said.

Rao, however, did not respond to a question about an
assertion made by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi yesterday that Islamabad had sent "suggestions" to India
through diplomatic channels that would lead to "meaningful
talks."

"The talks can take place immediately if a positive
response is received," Qureshi said, noting that any meeting
should produce results.

Listing disputes over Kashmir, Siachen and water,
Qureshi said, "How can Pakistan talk to India without these
subjects being on the table."

Rao, in turn, highlighted that New Delhi was ready to
discuss the outstanding issues with Islamabad.

"Our position has been made very clear. We intend to
persevere with a dialogue with Pakistan," she said.

"We are ready to address the outstanding issues."

"India and Pakistan should conduct negotiations in a
very rational and sustained manner," she added.

Qureshi had raised the issue of Kashmir several times
in public forums during the course of the past week in New
York -- where both he and External Affairs Minister S M
Krishna have been attending the opening session of the General
Assembly.

"The United States, as the world leader, has special
responsibility towards finding a just and peaceful solution of
Kashmir," Qureshi said.

Kashmir, however, was not raised at a bilateral
between Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
according to Indian officials.

"This issue has never come up in our discussions,"
Rao said.

PTI

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