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UN chief to `welcome` Manmohan Singh-Nawaz Sharif meeting

UN chief Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that India and Pakistan would discuss ways to address the tension at the LoC during a possible meeting of PMs Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif.



New York: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday expressed hope that India and Pakistan would discuss ways to address the tension at the LoC during a possible meeting of Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif on the margins of the UN General Assembly here next week.

The UN Secretary General said he strongly welcomes a meeting between the two leaders and expressed hope that it would provide a platform to discuss issues like recent tension between the neighbours in the wake of incidents of firing along the Line of Control.

"I would strongly welcome such a summit level meeting between the two leaders on the margins of the General Assembly," Ban told reporters when asked to comment on the possibility of a meeting between the leaders of the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

"I was very much concerned about this exchange of fires and skirmishes along the Line of Contact. This issue should be and could be handled and discussed between the two leaders" when they meet during the 68th session of the UNGA, he said.

The UN chief said the issue of improving ties between the "two very important countries" India and Pakistan "was one of my top agendas" during his visit to Pakistan last month.

"I have strongly recommended Prime Minister Sharif to take advantage of the UN General Assembly where all leaders including Prime Minister Singh would be here. I would strongly welcome and I would continue to provide my own support and efforts to facilitate such dialogue," he said.

The Indo-Pak peace process was derailed by the August 6 incident, in which five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed while on patrol on the LoC.

Pakistan has been pushing for a meeting between Singh and Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. However, India has been non-committal on the meeting.

PTI

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