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|July 10, 1998||
Annan strikes hopeful note on Indo-Pak talks
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Pakistan and India appeared ready to hold talks on security and other issues including Kashmir "by the end of July" and that he himself might visit the region.
In a letter to the Security Council yesterday, Kofi Annan said he was encouraged by indications from leaders of both countries and would continue efforts to bring the two sides together to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
A meeting between the two heads of state during the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the end of July is likely to materialise, Annan wrote.
Annan's letter was circulated to Council members yesterday as his envoy, Alvaro de Soto, briefed them on his recent trip to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He cancelled a visit to India after New Delhi said he was not welcome.
"de Soto's contacts with regional leaders, while not as complete as would have been desirable, nevertheless confirmed my concern that the new situation which had emerged following the developments of May, compounding as it does the longstanding causes of friction between India and Pakistan, may have serious implications for peace and security in the region and beyond,'' Annan wrote.
"In this connection, I have been encouraged by indications from both sides of their readiness to enter into a dialogue addressing peace and security matters and causes of tension, including Kashmir,'' he wrote.
de Soto delivered letters with Annan's offer to visit the region "at the appropriate time", to Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief.
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