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Terrorism will not impede peace process: Dr Singh, Musharraf

By Saisuresh Sivaswamy in New York
Last updated on: September 15, 2005 11:33 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf met on Wednesday night in New York and in a joint statement issued at 12.20 am on Thursday reiterated their pledge that they would not allow terrorism to impede the peace process.

President Musharraf announced that he has invited Dr Singh to Pakistan for a visit and that the prime minister has accepted. No dates have been fixed for the visit so far.

In the joint statement issued after a marathon four-hour discussion, they expressed their commitment to ensure a peaceful settlement of all pending issues, including Jammu & Kashmir, to the satisfaction of both sides.

The recent release of prisoners on both sides would continue on a humanitarian basis.

The two leaders agreed that all possible options for a peaceful negotiated settlement should be pursued in a sincere spirit and purposeful manner.

The meeting began at 8.15 pm, initially between the prime minister, Foreign Minister Natwar Singh and National Security Advisor M K Narayanan on  the Indian side, and President Musharraf, Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri and National Security Advisor Tariq Aziz on the Pakistani side.

They continued the deliberations over dinner, which lasted over 90 minutes.

Finally, the president and prime minister met on a one-to-one basis for 30 minutes during which the invitation was extended to Dr Singh and accepted.

Both sides did not take any questions.

"We covered extensively all aspects and I'm very satisfied with the outcome," Dr Singh said.

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Saisuresh Sivaswamy in New York