Will push India, Pakistan to hold talks: Nepal foreign minister

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Kathmandu, Nov 24: Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said Monday that Nepal will push India and Pakistan to hold talks on the sidelines of the SAARC summit.

To end the deadlock between India and Pakistan, "we are trying to crack the nut", he said in a television interview without divulging much details.

Though official talks between India and Pakistan are still uncertain, Nepal is likely to push the two regional leaders to one table during the retreat organised at Dhulikhel, a popular hill station near Kathmandu.

"SAARC has one very unique practice since its inception. The retreat among the heads of the state and government during the summit provides a platform to hold multilateral and bilateral talks. The talks are going to be held in a very free and frank manner to end mutual suspicion," Pandey said during a regular press briefing Friday, hinting at the possible talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.

SAARC needs to run like a rabbit, not a tortoise, said Pandey, as "we need harmony" among the member states.

"For that, we are trying to organise bilateral talks between India and Pakistan during the summit so that it can set an example."

Apart from visiting heads of the state and government, foreign ministers, and foreign secretaries will also be the part of retreat. The delegates will spend over two hours in the resort famous for the scenic Himalayas.

Pandey said during his meetings with the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers, while extending invitations to attend the SAARC summit, he had already proposed such talks to them.

"I found both of them were positive in this respect. On that basis, we are making up our mind to bring them to the table," he said.

IANS

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