Still a long way to go, Zardari tells Singh
31 August, 2012
TEHRAN: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Thursday that Pakistan and India must make determined efforts and maintain focus to steer the dialogue process in a productive and result-oriented manner.
"We have covered a lot of ground but we still have to go a long way," the president said during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Zardari said that it was important to move beyond reiteration of positions to more substantive results. He said that Pakistan was committed to pursuing the process of dialogue and engagement with India.
He said Pakistan was keenly looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at an early date.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar later described the meeting between the two leaders as "good".
"There is an ample proof that the political leadership of the two countries is committed to improving and normalising ties with each other," she told APP.
Khar said that Pakistan believed that it was the right approach and the requirement of the times and emerging regional situation to have better ties with all the countries, particularly those in the region.
"It is important that we are able to move past the challenges of the past and move into a new era of cooperation and being able to resolve our disputes," she said. Foreign secretaries of the two countries are meeting in Islamabad in September to review the second round of dialogue process that resumed after a gap of two years, following the Mumbai attacks.
Thursday's meeting was the second between President Zardari and Manmohan Singh in a year. They last met in New Delhi during President Zardari's daylong private visit to India in April.
The president recalled the meeting and said he was deeply touched by the warm hospitality extended to him in New Delhi and Ajmer Sharif.
Zardari appreciated the Indian prime minister's vision for a peaceful and prosperous South Asia. He said Pakistan desired to have friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations with India, as it had a deep interest in promoting peace and stability in the region.
The president said the South Asian region had enormous potential and the cooperation between the two countries was imperative to exploit this potential.
The two leaders also noted the substantive improvement in their bilateral, economic and trade relations. The president expressed satisfaction on the completion of the second round of the resumed dialogue process that would culminate with foreign ministers' meeting in Islamabad in September.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna, the Indian external affairs secretary and Indian national security adviser were present during Thursday's meeting.