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US welcomes PM-Musharraf talks

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September 19, 2006 01:58 IST

Hailing the Havana meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the US State Department on Monday said it welcomed any efforts on the parts of the two leaders to discuss "outstanding concerns".

State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey was responding to reporters' queries on the recent meeting between Dr Singh and Musharraf on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Havana, Cuba.

"Certainly, as we've said, we welcome discussions between the two parties on issues of mutual concern. We have a good and important relationship with India. We have a good and important relationship with Pakistan. And we certainly welcome any efforts on the part of leaders of both those countries to engage with one another and discuss any outstanding concerns," Casey remarked.

Even before the formal meeting of Dr Singh and Musharraf, a senior State Department official praised the "statesmanship" shown by the leaders of India and Pakistan and referred to the stalled foreign secretary-level talks in the wake of the Mumbai blasts.

"We hope they can find a basis to resume talks," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher said last week at the Johns Hopkins University stressing that the US role is not a direct one, but of providing constant encouragement to the two sides.

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