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India, Pak Foreign Secretaries reiterate intention to carry forward dialogue process

June 24, 2011 - Islamabad

The two-day bilateral talks between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan-Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir-in Islamabad were held in a "frank and cordial atmosphere", a statement of the External Affairs Ministry said today.

"Both sides reiterated their intention to carry forward the dialogue process in a constructive and purposeful manner. The issues of peace and security, including CBMs, were discussed in a comprehensive manner. Both sides emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue to promote mutual understanding," the statement said.

"They noted the ongoing implementation of various nuclear and conventional CBMs. They also decided to convene separate expert level meetings on nuclear and conventional CBMs to discuss implementation and strengthening of existing arrangements and to consider additional measures, which are mutually acceptable, to build trust and confidence and promote peace and security. The dates for the expert level meetings will be determined through diplomatic channels," it added.

The Foreign Secretaries noted that both countries recognize that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and they reiterated the firm and undiluted commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations.

"They agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism," the statement said.

The Foreign Secretaries also exchanged views on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.

"Both sides agreed to convene a meeting of the working group on cross-LoC CBMs to recommend measures for strengthening and streamlining the existing trade and travel arrangements across the LoC and propose modalities for introducing additional cross-LoC CBMs. The working group will meet in July," the statement said.

Both sides agreed to the need for promoting friendly exchanges between the two countries.

"They noted with satisfaction the progress made towards finalization of the visa agreement which will help liberalize the visa regime and facilitate people-to-people, business-to-business and sports contacts," the statement said.

The two sides also discussed measures for promoting cooperation in various fields including, facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, holding of sports tournaments and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.

The Foreign Secretaries agreed that people of the two countries are at the heart of the relationship and that humanitarian issues should be accorded priority and treated with sensitivity.

The Foreign Secretaries will meet again in New Delhi, on a date to be decided through diplomatic channels, to prepare for the meeting of the Foreign/External Affairs Ministers in New Delhi in July.


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