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|July 14, 1998||
Sharief renews invitation to UN secretary general
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief has renewed his invitation to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to visit Pakistan as soon as possible.
Pakistan favours a substantive and sustained engagement by the United Nations to help overcome the grave security crisis in South Asia, an official statement said. ''We are gratified to note that the Indian prime minister has also reaffirmed his country's strong support for the UN and they would particularly be prepared to receive the UN secretary general,'' it said.
Annan sent last month his special envoy to Pakistan to make preparations for his visit to the region in a move to reduce the prevailing tension. However, India refused to receive the envoy, saying it opposed third-party mediation in bilateral disputes with Pakistan. ''We hope the UN secretary general will be able to visit the region prior to the Colombo SAARC summit so that the United Nations is enabled to play its indispensable role for the facilitation of a process of peace and rapprochement in South Asia,'' the statement said.
Sharief will meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the sidelines of the tenth SAARC summit to be held in Colombo from July 29 to 31.
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