Aziz holds talks with Indian FM today

Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz. — File photo

Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz. — File photo

DAWN, ISLAMABAD, 13th SEPTEMBER 2013: New Delhi’s rhetorical posturing notwithstanding, prime ministers of Pakistan and India are likely to meet in New York on Sept 29.

Both sides, a diplomatic source revealed, were working on a date proposed by Pakistan (Sept 29) for the meeting between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Dr Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

“On the proposed meeting between the two prime ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the two governments are in touch with each other,” Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said at the weekly media briefing.

Mr Sharif will be in New York from Sept 22 to 29 and is likely to meet a number of world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He will address the UN session on Sept 26.

The source said all such meetings were still being scheduled.

Pakistan and India could get closer to finalising the date for Sharif-Singh interaction at a meeting between Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz and Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday (today) in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).

The talks (in Bishkek) would focus on the overall relations between the two countries, the spokesman said.

The two sides have been saying that there is no set agenda for the Bishkek meeting which has been described by the Indian foreign minister as “informal”.

The Indians have been demanding concrete progress on issues of concern to it, including speedy trial of the Mumbai attack accused in Pakistan and action against elements involved in anti-India activities, before agreeing to a prime ministerial meeting.

Ahead of his talks with Mr Aziz, Indian minister Khurshid said: “You want a meeting at the highest level. There has to be an atmosphere for it. There has to be a desire on both sides to meet which I can imagine is there, but the context, circumstances and prevailing conditions have to be looked at.”

Pakistani diplomats think India is continuously upping the ante to have its way.

DRONES: The Foreign Office has started studying the prospects of raising the issue of drone attacks at the United Nations.

The all-party conference held on Monday on challenges to national security had asked the government to look into the possibility of taking the issue of drone attacks to the UN as a violation of the international law.

“We have initiated necessary work in this regard in consultation with our missions in Geneva and New York. Drone strikes violate our sovereignty as well as international law and are also counter-productive. An international debate is now well under way on the humanitarian and human rights implications of the drone strikes as well as their legitimacy and effectiveness,” Mr Chaudhry said.

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