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Mukherjee arrives in Islamabad to review Indo-Pak composit dialogue

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The eight point agenda of the talks includes peace and security, Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wular barrage, terrorism, combating drugs and economic and trade cooperation. Ninety six Indian fishermen released on this eve

ISLAMABAD: Indian External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee has arrived Islamabad to attend concluding talks of the fourth round of the Pakistan-India composite dialogue. The foreign secretaries of the two countries initiated the preliminary phase of talks on Tuesday. The eight point agenda of the talks includes peace and security, Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wular barrage, terrorism, combating drugs and economic and trade cooperation. The talks will be followed by ministerial level review of the fourth round of composite dialogue tomorrow. Mukherjee is also expected to meet several Pakistani politicians and top government officials today.

Mukherjee is in Islamabad to review the fourth round of Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue.
Menon with his delegation will hold meetings with his Pakistani counterpart. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Indian External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee who would reach the federal capital tomorrow will hold review meeting on fourth round of composite dialogue. In an arrival statement, issued by Indian High Commission the Indian External Affairs Minister said; “I am sure my meetings with the President, Prime Minister, my colleague the Foreign Minister and other leaders of Pakistan would be useful for furthering peace, stability, people- to-people contact and accelerated economic development of both our countries, as also our entire region.” He recalled his last visit, where he had “fruitful discussions. “I am glad that our two counties indeed made considerable progress on various issues of mutual interest during the year 2007.”

He said his visit to Pakistan comes amidst a new democratic environment of great promise. “We congratulate the people of Pakistan for successful conduct of the general election. The present environment, I am sure, will help us in addressing various issues related to peace, stability and economic development. He expressed the hope in his discussions with Foreign Minister Qureshi he hopes to consolidate the progress made in relations, which provides a good basis for the Fifth Round of the Composite Dialogue.

Mukherjee said several proposals in the political, economic and regional field are on the anvil for consideration and implementation. “We approach the new round in a spirit of cooperation, trust and pragmatism. This is predicated on an atmosphere free from terrorism, violence of the threat of it,” the statement said. The Indian External Affairs Minister recalled the tragic assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in December last year. “Her loss is still a fresh wound. Not just Pakistan, but our entire region has lost a charismatic leader of great promise, foresight and capability.”

“For the sake of our collective futures, we must work together to combat the menace of terrorism. That would be a fitting tribute to Mrs. Bhutto’s memory and her legacy,” Mukherjee said in his statement. Meanwhile visiting Indian Foreign Minister after his arrival in Islamabad held a meeting with the PML (N) leader Mian Nawaz Sharif. After the meeting Mian Nawaz Sharif told media men at Punjab House, “we discussed numerous issues and in my opinion Pakistan and India should move forward from Lahore Declaration when he as Prime Minister had initiated that instrument with former Prime Minister of India.

Later Mukherjee met co-chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari. After the meeting Zardari told reporters “we have interest in solving the issues that divide us in a cooperative relationship.” He said during first government of Benazir Bhutto peace initiative with India was taken when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Islamabad. He recalled the historic relationship Peoples Party had with Indian Congress party and said it was part of later Benazir Bhutto’s doctrine of India-Pakistan relations, that began with the elder Bhutto in Simla. Zardari described his talks with Mukherjee as “very good” and called for working together.

The review meetings will set the tone for the fifth round of the composite dialogue. When contacted, Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said that the talks would be held on the eight agenda items of the composite dialogue including peace and security including confidence building measures (CBMs), Jammu Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, terrorism and drugs trafficking, economic and commercial cooperation and promotion of friendly exchanges. The review meeting would assess the progress made in the fourth round of the eight segments of the composite dialogue process and deliberate on how to address the out-standing issues in a more meaningful way.

Pakistan government has announced to release ninety six Indian fishermen on 24th of this month. This decision has been taken as a gesture of goodwill and especially to grace the visit of the Indian Foreign Minister to Pakistan. The fishermen were apprehended by the Maritime Security Agency for violation of Pakistan’s exclusive economic zone in Pakistani waters. Advisor to the Prime Minister Rehman Malik also announced that another three Indian civil prisoners whose national status has been confirmed by the Indian government have also been released.

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Azhar Masoodhttp://
Azhar Masood is Controller of News in PTV, and Chief Instructor of PTV Academy, working for Arab News. He has Covered Iraq War from Baghdad for CNN, BBC, FOX News, and Al-Jazeera and other regional channels. He covered conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina. He interviewed Yasir Arafat of Palestine, Paul Wolfoweit, Prime Minister Jean Ghteyan of Canada, Dr. Amar Musa of Egypt, Mr. Haris Slajic, Prime Minister of Bosnia Dr. Akbar Ali Vallayati, former Foreign Minister of Iran, President Kumaratunge of Sri Lanka, Mr. Kumar Su Bramanyem, Director of National Defence Institute of India, Mr. Hamid Karzai President of Afghanistan, Dr. Ahmad Chalabi of Iraq National Congress, Mr. Hoshyar Zubari, Vice President Kurdish Democratic Party of Iraq
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