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After Imran writes to Modi, MEA says foreign ministers to meet in New York

Islamabad/New Delhi, September 20: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, the Foreign Office said here on Thursday, seeking to re-start the bilateral talks on key issues “challenging the relationship”, including on terrorism and Kashmir.

On Imran Khan’s letter, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “I can confirm that on request of Pakistani side, a meeting between India and Pak foreign ministers will take place. Nothing much to read into this meeting at this stage. We have not finalised the agenda of the meeting. We have just responded to their request that a meeting should take place.”

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India will participate in SAARC foreign ministers meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York.

“We cannot say what our position will be exactly. But our position on the SAARC has been very consistent since its suspension. See his meeting only as a meeting. This is not a dialogue. This is not resumption of dialogue,” the MEA spokesperson said.

In the letter dated September 14, the cricketer-turned-politician, who became the prime minister last month, proposed a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this month.

“Building on the mutual desire for peace between our two countries, I wish to propose a meeting between Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, before the informal meeting of the SAARC foreign ministers on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York,” Khan wrote.

Pakistan and India have an “undeniably challenging relationship”, he said, while responding to Modi’s letter to him on August 18.

In the letter to Khan, Modi had conveyed India’s commitment to pursue “meaningful” and “constructive” engagement with Pakistan, emphasising the need to work for a terror-free South Asia.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter: “PM (Imran Khan) has responded to PM Modi, in a positive spirit, reciprocating his sentiments. Let’s talk and resolve all issues. We await formal response from India.”

In the letter to Modi, Khan wrote: “We, however, owe it to our peoples, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to bridge differences and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.”

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief thanked Modi for his “warm greetings” and best wishes on his assumption of charge as the Pakistan Prime Minister.

The two ministers (Qureshi and Swaraj) could explore the way forward, Khan said, adding that the SAARC Summit in Islamabad “will offer an opportunity for you to visit Pakistan and for us to re-start the stalled dialogue process”.

Source Tribune India

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