India, Pakistan foreign secretaries to meet in a month (Lead)June 16th, 2009 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS
By Manish Chand
Yekaterinburg, June 16 (IANS) Leaders of India and Pakistan Tuesday asked their foreign secretaries to meet within a month with the sole agenda of reviewing the primary issue of cross- border terrorism that has plagued their ties.
This was decided during the 40-minute talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari — most of it alone — their first since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
The two leaders agreed to a meeting between their foreign secretaries to discuss the “primary issue” of terrorism and report to them before the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in the Egyptian town of Sharm-al-Sheikh in mid July, officials said.
Manmohan Singh and Zardari are also expected to meet again on the sidelines of the NAM summit.
Clarifying that no decision had been taken on the resumption of their “composite dialogue”, Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said: “They agreed that the primary issue of terrorism will be discussed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries before the two leaders meet at the NAM summit mid July. We will take stock of the situation and report to our leaders.”
During their wide ranging talks, Manmohan Singh told Zardari that his mandate was to convey to him that Pakistani soil should not be used for terrorist activities against India.
India conveyed a clear message that the issue of terrorism will have to be addressed head on before structured dialogue begins.
Zardari’s response to Manmohan Singh was not immediately known, but it is understood that the Pakistani leader has been keen to resume the dialogue process between the two countries.
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