Gilani Hopes For 'positive' Talks; Qureshi Rakes Up Kashmir

3 July 2009
The Hindu


Islamabad: Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday hoped his upcoming meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in Egypt will be 'positive' even as his Foreign Minister upped the ante saying peace in the region cannot be discussed without the resolution of Kashmir issue. Mr. Gilani said the meeting on the sidelines of the July 11-16 Non-Aligned Movement(NAM) summit in Sharm El-Sheikh would be an opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties. The meeting is likely to take place on July 16. Pakistan wants to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours, including India and Afghanistan, Mr. Gilani told reporters while voicing the hope that the outcome of his meeting with Singh on the margins of the meet in would be 'positive.' The meeting with Mr. Singh would be an opportunity to strengthen relations between the two countries, he said. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters at the Multan airport, 'Kashmir issue can't be kept out of the bilateral talks.' 'We can't discuss peace without (settlement of) Kashmir issue.' Mr. Qureshi said the world has come to accept that 'Kashmir is disputed.' He also asked India to 'sympathise' with Pakistan's fight against terror as its army is fighting Taliban in the troubled northwest region bordering Afghanistan. The minister's comments came a day after the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman claimed that the 'very fragile' situation in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be tackled through administrative and political measures as suggested by Home Minister P. Chidambaram.