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Talks ‘fruitless’ unless Kashmir, water discussed: FM Qureshi

11 February, 2010

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Wednesday said Pakistan wants to hold candid talks with India at the earliest and that the dialogue will not be fruitful unless Kashmir and water issues are addressed.

In an exclusive interview, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan does not want to hold dialogue just for the sake of talks.

He said the negotiations have to be result oriented and ruled out talks in case any conditions are attached to the process.

“Terrorism is not only the problem of India but also of Pakistan and it will be on the agenda of dialogue,” the Foreign Minister said.

He, continued, there are also issues other than terrorism between Pakistan and India, Kashmir being the most important of all, therefore, it will definitely be part of the dialogue.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the suspension of composite dialogue was not due to any action of Pakistan and that the talks will be resumed from the point they were discontinued.

Earlier, a high-level inter-ministerial meeting today granted an approval for resumption of dialogue with India.

The meeting discussed India`s offer for foreign secretary-level talks and sought a "meaningful and result-oriented composite dialogue" to resolve outstanding issues.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi chaired the inter-ministerial meeting at the Foreign Office that was attended by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Pakistan`s High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik, Director General (South Asia) Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi and senior officials of the military, ISI and defence and interior ministries.

The inter-ministerial meeting was convened to consider the Indian offer to resume dialogue with Pakistan and to evolve Pakistan`s views towards the Indian proposal, the statement said.

India has proposed talks at the level of the Foreign Secretaries later this month. The two sides are yet to decide on a date and venue for the meeting.

Meanwhile A high-level meeting held at the presidency under the chair of President Asif Ali Zardari here on Wednesday agreed on resumption of composite dialogue with India.

Sources at the Presidency said that the meeting, which was also attended by by PM, Yousaf Raza Gilani, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qurieshi, and COAS Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, besides finance minister Shaukat Tareen, also agreed on joint proposals of COAS and (decisions reached in) Corps commanders (meeting), that the future composite dialogue should be meaningful and result oriented, rather than mere talks.

It was also agreed that the talks would also cover all issues, which include the water issue and the core issue of Kashmir, and also decided that no conditional talks/ dialogue would ever be accepted.

Sources also said that both government and Army have agreed to adopt a joint consensus over the strategy of these talks, which should be able to offer just and honorable solution of all issues, within due time-frame.

End.

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