Indo-Pak talks: Khar hopes 2 countries can move forward

Hina Rabbani Khar
New Delhi, Jul 26: Pakistan's first woman Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar arrived here today (Jul 26) for talks with her Indian counterpart S M Krishna on Wednesday, Jul 27, hoping the two countries can "move forward" as good neighbours with a stake in each other's future.

"...hope that these two countries have learnt lessons from history, but are not burdened by history and we can move forward as good, friendly neighbours who have stake in each other's future and both the countries understand their responsibilities to the region and within the region", the 34- -year old Khar, the youngest Foreign Minister of Pakistan, said on her arrival here.

A host of bilateral issues, including Confidence Building Measures, India's concerns on terror and Jammu and Kashmir will figure in the talks whose agenda was finalised by the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan during their "preparatory" meeting here today.

India is also understood to have handed over the revised list of ''most wanted'' fugitives to the Pakistani delegation which carries 48 names.

Khar told reporters in Lahore before leaving for India that Pakistan is looking forward to a "pro-active, productive and result-oriented" engagement with India on all issues, including Kashmir on which "we should not be held hostage to history".

She however said both countries have committed themselves to an "uninterrupted and uninterruptible" peace process since they began their re-engagement earlier this year.

Ahead of his meeting with Rao, Bashir said, "I think we have every reason to be satisfied with our joint endeavours for the cause of peace and stability and for the good relations between our two countries".

Bashir said he also looked forward to a "productive meeting between the two ministers.

"We had a very good meeting in Islamabad last month and this in a sense has set the trend for the discussions today," Rao said.

Apart from reviewing the progress made by the two countries on various bilateral issues during the series of meetings, including security, commerce, water and Siachen, Krishna and Khar will also explore areas to expand the cooperation.

The ministers will also explore the possibility to upgrade the engagement in some areas such as commerce and security to the ministerial level, sources said.

In Lahore, Khar said, "We are looking forward to a pro-active, productive and result-oriented engagement in India and the signals we're getting is that we should be expecting the same from them.

"Both the countries are looking forward to, and are committed to, an uninterrupted and uninterruptible process as has been proven in the last few months and (this) relates to peace and development in the region," she said.

The peace process was resumed "within the Thimphu spirit", Khar said, referring to a meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in the Bhutanese capital, where they agreed that the "only way forward is that of engagement".

Pakistan should have "realistic and pragmatic expectations" from the ministerial talks to be held in New Delhi tomorrow.

The two Foreign Ministers will review the talks held under the peace process this year and set the "forward direction", she said.

Noting that "re-engagement is better than no engagement", Khar said there had been "forward movement" between the two sides in some area over the past few months.

"Can you solve a problem with a friend and good neighbour with whom you have ties or with an enemy? Difficulties have been eased by engagement," she said. Khar said talks will be held on all issues, including Kashmir.


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