Pranab meets Pakistan foreign minister in Colombo

July 31st, 2008 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, July 31 (IANS) With fresh strains reappearing in India-Pakistan relations, External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee met with his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the SAARC Council of Ministers meeting here Thursday evening. Highly-placed diplomatic sources told IANS here: “The bilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan commenced this evening at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.”

The details of what was on the agenda of the talks between the two leaders were, however, not known.

The meeting between Mukherjee and Qureshi takes place at a time when everything does not seem to be right in India-Pakistan relations. Over the past few weeks there have been reports of frequent violation of the ceasefire along the Line of Control by Pakistan and New Delhi has blamed Islamabad’s spy agency for its embassy bombing in Kabul earlier this month that killed four Indians, including two diplomats.

Pakistan has also made known its opposition to the safeguards agreement that India plans to sign with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna Friday. Though indications suggest that Pakistan may finally not vote against the agreement, the possibility of it abstaining to register its opposition is not being ruled by India.

After the recent terror attacks in the Indian cities of Bangalore and Ahmedabad, some fingers have started being pointed at Pakistan, though officially New Delhi has so far not accused Islamabad.

The foreign ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) began a two-day council of ministers meeting Thursday morning, prior to their bilateral meetings on the sidelines.

“Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who arrived Wednesday night, is holding a series of bilateral meetings during his stay here. He is holding talks with the Pakistan foreign minister,” a top Indian diplomat said, refusing to divulge further details of the meeting.

The leaders of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will gather at the BMICH main hall Aug 2 and 3 for the 15th SAARC summit to thrash out agreements on various regional issues, mainly in trade, education, culture, tourism and other social issues.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |