June 2003 News

Musharraf, Blair to discuss Kashmir

11 June 2003
The Dawn

LONDON: President Gen Pervez Musharraf will hold talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on bilateral, regional and international issues, including Kashmir, during his visit to the United Kingdom next week , a British Foreign Office spokesman said on Wednesday. 'We have longstanding close relations with Pakistan and the president's visit further underpins this relationship,' he told APP. He said Pakistan was a key ally in the campaign against terrorism and a valued member of the United Nations Security Council. Asked whether the issue of Kashmir and the thaw between Pakistan and India would come up during the talks, he said 'I am sure that is likely to feature in their discussion.' Britain, he said, 'has long recognized the seriousness of the dispute between India and Pakistan and has been following with great interest the recent moves to lessen the tensions.' He said Britain appreciated both Pakistan and Indian governments for the 'recent progress they have made.' 'We hope as a close friend of Pakistan and India that both the governments would continue their discussion. The prime minister, I am sure, will be interested to hear from the president about the latest developments in this process,' said the spokesman. Replying to a question, he said Britain had welcomed the steps taken by President Musharraf against extremist groups.-APP


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