Pakistan to fix dates for talks with India

Islamabad (PTI): Pakistan on wednesday said it was fixing dates for the next round of the Composite Dialogue with India, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed hope that his new counterpart Yousuf Raza Gillani would build on the initiatives taken by former leaders.

Reacting to Singh’s comments, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said efforts were underway to hold further talks.

“We have noted the (Indian Prime Minister’s) statement and are in the process of fixing dates for the next round of meetings,” Sadiq told a weekly news briefing.

Soon after Gilani assumed office, Singh sent a letter to the new Pakistan Prime Minister and later called him up to greet him with a hope that the two countries would work expeditiously towards “agreed solutions of pending issues”.

Singh hoped Gilani would build on the initiatives taken by the then Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as also President Pervez Musharraf to improve bilateral ties.

The Foreign Secretaries of the two countries are expected to meet to review the last round of the Composite Dialogue before officials embark on further talks under the process that began nearly four years ago.

While PPP leader Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister on Tuesday, the new government is expected to be formed later this week when some ministers are inducted into the Cabinet.

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