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Pakistan, India agree to respect LoC ceasefire

14 September, 2013

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BISHKEK: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Friday said that he had very useful meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed and they agreed that both India and Pakistan should respect 2003 Line of Control ceasefire agreement.

Giving his comments following his meeting with Salman Khursheed, on the sidelines of 13th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Sartaj Aziz said, "I had a very useful meeting last evening with Mr Salman Khursheed in a frank and cordial atmosphere". He said, "We both agreed that it was important to respect the 2003 ceasefire agreement in order to reduce tensions and for this purpose." Sartaj Aziz said, "We also agreed that the existing mechanism shall be used more effectively."

The adviser to the prime minister said, "I conveyed our concern and disappointment that the momentum which the two prime ministers had created for the peace process and the composite dialogue, soon after the new government took over the Pakistan in June this year has been arrested by the unfortunate incident of 6 August." "I also emphasised that the objective of establishing durable peace in South Asia is of such paramount importance that it should not be held hostage to electoral politics or the process allowed to be derailed by a single incident," he added.

Considering the likelihood of a meeting between the two prime ministers, Sartaj Aziz said, "We agreed to use diplomatic channels to finalise the agenda for such a meeting keeping in view the progress made so far in various working groups and in back-channel contacts." The two leaders discussed bilateral issues, ways to defuse tension on the Line of Control and resumption of dialogue process between the two countries.

Sources said that the two top foreign affairs leaders of Pakistan and India exchanged views on matters of mutual interests, especially on the upcoming meeting of the prime ministers of the two countries. Later, while talking to media Indian External Minister Salman Khursheed said that matters including the Line of Control situation came under discussion. He said that views were also exchanged on post-Mumbai attack developments.

Sartaj Aziz has said the Pakistani Judicial Commission is scheduled to visit India on September 23. Khursheed conveyed to Sartaj Aziz that there could be a possible meeting between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan in New York, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, but this would require a conducive atmosphere. This was a position reiterated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

During the meeting, Sartaj Aziz mentioned the appointment of a new public prosecutor for the trial of seven men accused of training and guiding the Mumbai attackers. Khursheed said Pakistan must indicate tangible progress on meeting some of India's concerns, prime among them being effective and speedy prosecution of Pakistanis behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Khursheed expressed satisfaction at the assurance but hoped the evidence would be such that the Pakistani court would be able to do something substantial. Sartaj Aziz welcomed the Khursheed's expression of satisfaction over the assurances and, quoting the Indian minister, hoped both sides would muzzle their guns on the LoC to maintain the ceasefire agreed upon in 2003. Khursheed stressed on more effective utilisation of the mechanism to dampen aggression on the LoC. "We have a few days, let us see how it shapes up," he said.

Sartaj Aziz also met his Kyrgyz counterpart Abdyldeev Bekeshovitch and reviewed bilateral relations. The two sides agreed that the excellent relationship at the political level should be translated into other areas, particularly trade and economy. The two leaders stressed the importance of activating the existing mechanism of joint economic commission and joint business council to promote bilateral cooperation and trade and economic sectors.

End.

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