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|October 1, 1999||
India, EU hold talks on WTO Seattle round
India's trade relationship with the European Union, the forthcoming WTO ministerial talks at Seattle and India's position on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty were the issues discussed at the meeting between India's external affairs minister, Jaswant Singh and the European Commission's new commissioner for external affairs Christopher Patten, in Brussels on September 30.
This is the first ever visit by an Indian external affairs minister to the headquarters of the European Union, and also the first contact between the Indian government and the new commission, headed by former Italian premier Romano Prodi, which took office on September 21.
During talks, Jaswant Singh extended an invitaiton to Chris Patten to visit India. He also suggested that this opportunity could be used for a round table dialogue with the EU on bilateral relations.
On the World Trade Organisation, it was agreed that officials from both sides would hold discussions and exchange views in advance of the Seattle meeting. It was stressed that more effort should be made by both sides to understand each other's position on the millennium round.
After their three-minute meeting, both leaders interacted with the press. It was confirmed by both sides that India's relations with Pakistan and India's nuclear tests also figured during the talks.
Jaswant Singh reiterated the commitment, given by India to the United Nations, during the General Assembly session in September 1998, that India would not stand in the way of the entry into force of the CTBT.
This issue would be addressed after the Indian elections, Singh said.
The situation in Afghanistan was also discussed by the two leaders.
On India's Asia-Europe meeting or ASEM membership, Patten said it was for the Asian countries to propose new participants in ASEM. But he hoped that the EU would be able to work with India in a number of multilateral fora, an ECIS media statement released in New Delhi said.
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