Indian, Pak Foreign Ministers review Peace Process

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New Delhi, Dec 7: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Pakistan's care-taker Foreign Minister Inam ul Haq met here this afternoon on the sidelines of the SAARC Ministerial Meeting and reviewed progress on the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP).

Mr Haq, who arrived here yesterday to attend the two-day 29th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers, also discussed with the External Affairs Minister the issues of Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, sources said.

However, no official word was immediately available on what transpired at the 45-minute meeting between the two Foreign Ministers.

Mr Haq had said yesterday that he would raise with Indian leaders outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek.

Mr Haq is also likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Foreign Secretaries of both countries are likely to meet early next year to review the fourth round of the CDP.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, while briefing reporters on today's deliberations, said in reply to a question that Foreign Secretaries of the two countries would meet next year after the elections and formation of the new government in Pakistan. The Foreign Secretaries would review the Fourth Round of the Composite Dialogue Process.

Mr Mukherjee said the Pakistan Foreign Minister had briefed him on the latest situation in his country and also explained that election would be held there in January.

After the completion of the Fourth Round, the remaining issues would be taken up by the Foreign Secretaries following the formation of the new government in Pakistan.

Mr Mukherjee said because of certain circumstances in that country, ''normal work'' could not be completed. However, bilateral trade had increased and a joint survey of Sir Creek had been completed.

''We will have to wait till the formation of the new government (in Pakistan),'' the External Affairs Minister said.

The sources said the Pakistan Foreign Minister told Mr Mukherjee that a lot of progress had been made on Sir Creek and maps exchanged and joint survey completed.

He suggested that the both countries ''sit down,'' give up their respective hard stance and strike a ''compromise'' formula, the sources added.

On Siachen, Mr Haq told Mr Mukherjee that Pakistan was ready for an agreement on draft exchange. However, India's ''insistence'' on authentication of positions was unacceptable to Pakistan, the sources added.


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