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Menon meets Shaukat Aziz, Kasuri

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

Islamabad, Mar 13 (UNI) India and Pakistan today pledged to push forward the ongoing composite dialogue process in order to promote good neighbourly relationship.

''We are doing it by carrying forward the dialogue process, resolving the issues, which are dividing us and building cooperative links between our economies,'' Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters here this evening after meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmud Kasuri.

He said that the two countries had moved forward wherever they could in a bid to sustain the dialogue process.

Mr Menon arrived last night for two-day talks with his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Muhammad Khan, which began here at the Foreign Office today.

However, he refused to give details about talks, saying that he would brief mediapersons together with Khan tomorrow on conclusion of the meeting.

About his meetings with Mr Aziz and Mr Kasuri, he said there was a clear expression of political will on both sides to continue the dialogue process and move the relationship forward to a phase ''where we can say we enjoy good neighbourly relations.'' ''The Prime Minister spoke of the potential for cooperation in economic field and said that resolution of disputes between the two countries will make it clear for them to fully utilize this potential,'' Mr Menon said.

He said that the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project was also discussed during the meeting.

Pakistan and India are currently engaged in technical discussions, including the pricing mechanism with Iran, to make the seven billion dollars mega project a reality.

''We see it as a stand-alone project,'' Mr Menon remarked, against backdrop of reports that the heightening tensions between Iran and the US over Tehran's nuclear weapons programme may also put the IPI project into jeopardy.

''The project is in our interests and we are still examining it,'' he added.

He said during the meeting with Prime Minister, they also discussed the potential to increase air services between the two countries.

''However, we need to have another round of technical level talks to work out details in this regard,'' Mr Menon said.

He said his meeting with Mr Kasuri focused on ways to make the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) more effective. ''Even Prime Minister Aziz also said he would like to see the SAARC achieving its potential,'' he added.


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