Concerned Pak urges Krishna to clarify remarks on Feb 25 foreign secretary talks

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Islamabad, Feb.18 (ANI): The Pakistan Foreign Office has expressed concern over the reported remarks of Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna about next week's foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi, and insisted that the outcome of the meeting should not be prejudged nor its scope circumscribed.

"We have noted with concern remarks attributed by the media to India's External Affairs Minister on the forthcoming meeting of the Foreign Secretaries in New Delhi that these will be unifocal and that there would be no resumption of Composite Dialogue. This is contrary to our understanding", Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement here on Wednesday.

He said, "outcome of the meeting should not be prejudged nor its scope circumscribed", adding, " a clarification is being sought on this account.rishna's message

In an interview to the CNN-IBN television channel, Krishna said the Foreign Secretary-level talks were aimed at carrying forward the core issue of terrorism, as India is concerned about terror and terror-driven activities.

"We thought that it is necessary to engage Pakistan in dialogue. Hence we offered that the talks take place at the Foreign Secretary-level. We do not know what issues the Pakistan Foreign Secretary is going to raise. The brief for our Secretary is that terror is the Centre and focus point of talks," he said.

He also clarified that the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan was suspended and would not happen anytime soon.

Talks between India and Pakistan went into an impasse after the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

According to The Hindu, Foreign Secretary-level talks are expected to be held on February 25 morning and it will be followed by lunch.

Drawing a distinction between a composite dialogue and Foreign Secretary-level talks, the paper quoted sources, as saying that the former was wide-ranging and a number of arms of the government were involved.

The paper quoted the sources as further saying that the February 25 talks were not part of a composite dialogue, but were aimed at initiating a dialogue to revive the bilateral ties.

India, they said, decided to initiate talks after it perceived that Pakistan took some steps to act against the masterminds of the Mumbai attacks.

Other informed sources told the paper that under the composite dialogue format eight issues were taken up. While peace and security and Kashmir were dealt with by the Foreign Secretaries, line Ministries took up the other six, including terror by the Home Ministry.

The fifth round of composite dialogue was interrupted by the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July 2008.

Thereafter, at a meeting in New York in September, both sides decided to revive the process and complete it by the year-end, though the timeline was unrealistic due to scheduling problems.

However, the Mumbai attacks put a complete stop to the process. It would require a greater trust and confidence between the two sides to revive the composite dialogue, the paper quoted MEA sources, as saying. (ANI)

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