Manmohan, Zardari to have one-on-one meeting



Manmohan, Zardari to have one-on-one meeting Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Visiting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will hold a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday at 7, Race Course Road, before the two leaders sit down for lunch, reports said on Saturday.

No customary note-takers of the Pakistani President would be present inside the room during the meeting.

Highly placed sources in the government have informed that it was done at the insistence of New Delhi to which Islamabad has agreed.

After the talks, no formal statements are likely to be made by both leaders and neither are any agreements likely to be announced. The action will be mostly behind the scenes, sources said.

This opens up the possibility for a more candid conversation, government sources reportedly said.

Zardari is expected to press Singh to visit Pakistan, reports said.

The last time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had one-one-one talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the idyllic Addu island in the Maldives.

Zardari is scheduled to reach here at 11.30 am. After touching down in his special aircraft, he will head straight to the Prime Minister's official residence.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will also attend the lunch among others. Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi may also be invited for the lunch, reports said.

In the first presidential visit from Pakistan in the last 7 years, Zardari will be accompanied by a 40-member delegation. The delegation comprises Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, senior officials of the Presidency and a media contingent.

After the lunch, Zardari and his team are scheduled to leave for Ajmer to pay obeisance at shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.

The delegation will return to Islamabad on Sunday evening from Jaipur.