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Asia

Indian, Pakistani FMs hold key talks

The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan have met in Islamabad. The high-level talks were aimed at improving their strained relationship and rebuilding trust that was fractured by the 2008 Mumbai terrors attacks.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, meets his Indian counterpart SM Krishna

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, meets his Indian counterpart SM Krishna

India and Pakistan say they are open for more talks and are committed to improving ties. The remarks came following a day long meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.

Addressing a joint press conference Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi described the talks as "useful" and said that both countries agreed that dialogue was the only way forward. "We have agreed that this process is valuable and we will continue to meet in the future," Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

For his part, India's Foreign Minister S M Krishna said the meeting had been "good and constructive". "I have invited Foreign Minister (Shah Mehmood) Qureshi to visit India and I look forward to welcoming him to India in the near future," he told the news conference.

Mumbai issue

He also said that Pakistan had assured him that steps are being taken to speed up a trial of seven suspects charged in Pakistan over the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people in Mumbai. Talks between the two neighbors stalled following those attacks, which were blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, left, with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari

Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, left, with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari

Krishna is the most senior Indian official to visit Pakistan for two years. He has been accompanied by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal.

Apart from Foreign Minister Qureshi, the Pakistani side was represented by Interior Minister Rahman Malik and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.

Meeting with Zardari

Apart from terrorism, issues such as violence in Indian-administered Kashmir, water sharing, economic cooperation and ways of increasing people-to-people contact were on the agenda.

Earlier in the day the Indian foreign minister met Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, who urged India to share intelligence and work jointly to counter terrorism that has affected both the South Asian nations.

"Pakistan is against militancy and terrorism in any form and in any location and both the governments needed to work more closely for eliminating this menace," Zardari said in a statement.

du/AFP/dpa/AP
Editor: Thomas Baerthlein

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