Sanctity of LoC ceasefire will be respected, say India and Pak Foreign Secretaries

May 20th, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by admin  

Benazir Bhutto

Islamabad (ANI): Foreign Secretaries Salman Bashir (Pakistan) and Shiv Shankar Menon (India) and their respective delegations today discussed the recent cease-fire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), and reiterated that both countries respected the sanctity of the cease-fire reached on November 25, 2003.
Briefing reporters after an hour-long restricted meeting between the Foreign Secretaries and the delegation-level talks that covered issues like cross-border terrorism, Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and various CBMs like more cross-LoC bus services and people-to-people contacts,
Menon said that a thorough review of the fourth round of the bilateral Composite Dialogue was undertaken after a gap of six months, and it was decided that every effort would be put in to make peaceful co-existence a reality between the two countries.
He said that Islamabad had given New Delhi an assurance that it is committed to maintaining truce along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Foreign Secretary-level talks were held against the backdrop of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s arrival statement here that putting an end to terrorism and violence was necessary for building trust and cooperation. Mukherjee also said that both India and Pakistan should collectively combat the menace to ensure peace and stability in South Asia.
“Both sides made it clear that they attach great importance to the cease-fire and they want to make it hold,” Menon said after talks with Bashir.
He also said that their Directors General of Military Operations had also taken up the matter and both sides are committed to maintaining the ceasefire.
India has expressed concern over the recent incidents of firing on its soldiers from across the LoC. There have been three such incidents since May 8 and an Indian soldier was killed in trans-LoC firing yesterday.
Mukherjee, who arrived here on a two-day visit, said India approaches the next round of talks in a spirit of cooperation, trust and pragmatism.
“This is predicated on an atmosphere free from terrorism, violence or the threat of it.”
He expressed confidence that the “new democratic environment” would help in addressing various issues related to peace, stability and economic development.
Mukherjee, who will meet his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday in first high-level contact with the new dispensation in Islamabad, cited the “tragic assassination” of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to emphasise to Islamabad the need for ending cross-border terrorism.
“The Foreign Secretaries expressed satisfaction at the progress made so far and exchanged views on carrying forward the composite dialogue process,” a joint press statement issued after the talks said.
The Foreign Secretaries set the agenda of talks between Mukherjee and Qureshi on Wednesday.
New Delhi also pressed for launch of more cross-LoC bus services and early operationalisation of the truck service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.
The dialogue, which began in 2004, has helped in improvement of bilateral relations and the Indian side is keen to take it forward with the new government, picking up from where it was left during Musharraf regime.
India maintains that it is ready to address all issues with Pakistan, including Jammu and Kashmir, through talks but insists that atmosphere of peace is essential for the success of the dialogue process. (ANI)

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