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India, Pak trying to reach some understanding: Kasuri

Source: PTI
February 22, 2007 23:10 IST
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India and Pakistan are trying to arrive at "some sort of understanding" on outstanding issues and working for agreements that can be met with as little resistance as possible, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri said in New Delhi on Thursday night.

He said the composite dialogue between two countries had come a long way since it was launched in 2004 and there was overwhelming support for the peace process. Addressing a dinner meeting of South Asia Free Media Assocaition, he said there were sensitivities relating to fundamental issues of Jammu and Kashmir and "careful" efforts are on to smoothen "some of the edges".

"We are trying to arrive at some sort of undertanding," Kasuri said adding he was not using the word agreement because that would have to be presented in the cabinets, Parliaments and debated by the media.

On Kashmir issue, Kasuri said, a solution to it has legal ramifications and would require support of the opposition. "So, we are working harder" to reslove these issues. Kasuri said when an agreement is reached it should be met with as little resistance as possible.

Maintaining that progress had been made on various issues, he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf have been able to strike a relationship, which enables the two countries to carry forward the peace process. He said progress has been made on Siachen and Sir Creek was easy to resolve.

"Atmosphere has improved. As a result composite dialogue was have made progress," the Pakistan Foreign Minister said. He said the last four years have seen more focussed discussions on outstanding issues, which never happened in the past 60 years.

"I am not saying that we rushing at Frontier Mail speed. We are not doing it. There is clear understanding on both sides that this process will have to pass the test of public opinion as well as opposition", Kasuri said.

He said a lot of damage has been done because of differences between the two countries in the last 60 years, due to which socio-economic indicators of India and Pakistan are low today. He said peace between India and Pakistan is in the interest of both the countries and "if we try to resolve differences there will be overwhelming support."

Kasuri said "...there will be elements who would not be happy with the progress of peace process which was initiated by the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and Musharraf in January 2004."

He said there was a move to liberalise the visa regime between the two countries and 85-90 per cent agreement has been reached in this regard. He specifically referred to the visa regime for journalists and assured that efforts would be made to make their travel between the two countries easier.

The dinner was attended by Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni and former Prime Minister I K Gujral. Kasuri later left for Islamabad, wrapping up his three-day visit to India during which he attended the Joint Commission meeting and held one-to-one talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee beside meeting other Indian leaders.

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