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trust needed for dialogue with Pak: Krishna
New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS):
Published on 27 Feb. 2010 12:56 AM IST
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Describing the foreign secretary-level talks as “an encouraging step”, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday told parliament that the future of bilateral dialogue with Pakistan will depend on Islamabad’s response to India’s “core concerns on terrorism” which remains undiluted. “On Pakistan’s view that the composite dialogue between the two countries should be restored, we responded that the resumption of such a process would have to await the restoration of greater trust and confidence,” Krishna told the Lok Sabha. He was making a statement in parliament on talks between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan here Thursday. The talks “represent an encouraging step towards restoring dialogue and better communication between the two governments,” Krishna said. “The two foreign secretaries have agreed to remain in touch and continue this endeavour,” he added. Stressing that India has not diluted its position on terrorism, Krishna said: “India’s engagement with Pakistan will be predicated, as it has been since the Mumbai terrorist attack, on the response of Pakistan to our core concerns on terrorism.” “However, we do not dilute our position, or our resolve to defeat terrorism, as our prime minister has said, by talking to any country. Communication and engagement represent the best way forward,” he added. In their first formal talks since the Mumbai terror attack here, the two countries Thursday discussed a host of issues, including terrorism and Kashmir, but the stalemate persisted. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao gave her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir three fresh dossiers linking elements in that country to various terror attacks in India. She also made it clear that the time was “not yet ripe” for resuming composite dialogue till a climate of trust was created over India’s “core concern” over terror. The talks ended with both sides promising to stay in touch, but no schedule for future talks was set. US, EU welcomes Indo-Pak talk Brussels/Washington, Feb 26 (IANS): The United States which has been “encouraging” India and Pakistan to resume their dialogue sought to downplay the failure of their secretary-level talks saying it was a “courageous step” just to open the door to dialogue again. “As we have long encouraged the restoration of dialogue, it is an important step for Pakistan and India, and we commend the political leadership in both countries,” State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Thursday. When reminded that nothing came out of the New Delhi talks, Crowley alluded to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and said what was “important here” was that the meeting was held “given that there were some events recently where some elements were trying to derail the prospect of this meeting.” “...because they recognize that this has been beneficial to both countries in the past, it was a courageous step to open the door to dialogue again.” On the eve of the talks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Senate panel that the US “encouraged the resumption of the direct talks” between India and Pakistan at the highest political level. At the same time, she made it clear that it was for the two nations to resolve their differences themselves. Meanwhile the European Union has “warmly welcomed” the foreign-secretary level talks between India and Pakistan and expressed hope that the step would lead to a serious and responsive dialogue between the two countries. EU’s representative Catherine Ashton has “warmly welcomed” Thursday’s talks between Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in New Delhi, EuAsiaNews reported. “We hope that it will lead to a serious and responsive dialogue to address issues of concerns between the two countries,” she said in a statement. “This constitutes a significant event, which should contribute to an improvement of relations between Pakistan and India,” Ashton added. The meeting was the first formal dialogue between the two neighbours since the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008.

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