India and Pakistan hold talks on sidelines of SAARC

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Colombo, July 31 : External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the SAARC summit to discuss the recent blasts in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and the suicide attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul.

After the conclusion of meeting, both ministers told reporters that bilateral issues were discussed in detail, which will be conveyed to their respective Prime Ministers'.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani premier Yousuf Raza Gilani will be attending the SAARC summit on aturday and they are expected to meet on the sidelines.

Earlier, Foreign Ministers of the eight-member SAARC today met in Colombo to set the agenda for the weekend Summit aimed at boosting trade ties and combating the food and energy crisis.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, representing India, the outgoing chairman of SAARC, began the proceedings of 30th Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers here by handing over the Chairmanship to his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama.

In his opening remarks Bogollagama said that he looks forward to transform the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation which implements it programmes in a more effective manner.

The theme of this year's summit is "The SAARC: Partnership for our People."

The meeting of the Council of Ministers, which is expected to continue till tomorrow afternoon, will discuss ways to launch of the SAARC Development Fund and finalise a pact on regional legal cooperation to deal with criminal matters and a fund to manage the food and energy crisis. By Naveen Kapoor

ANI

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