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|June 25, 1998||
Sharief agrees to talks with Vajpayee at SAARC summit
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief says he will meet Prime Minister A B Vajpayee next month in the first face-to-face talks since the two neighbours conducted underground nuclear tests, the foreign ministry said today.
The statement comes in the wake of Vajpayee's letter to Sharief on June 14 in which he had reiterated India's commitment to foster peaceful and friendly relations and developing a stable structure of co-operation between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Sharief sent a letter yesterday to Vajpayee agreeing to talks ''to discuss all issues of concern, particularly issues of peace and security in the nuclearised South Asia and the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, which is the sole root-cause of the problem and tensions in the region,'' a foreign ministry statement said.
The talks are to be held during a three-day meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation which is to begin in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on July 29.
The group comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In his letter to Vajpayee, Sharief said a ''breakthrough between Pakistan and India on issues of vital concern to peace and security would open a new chapter of co-operation and development in South Asia.''
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in Pakistan on Wednesday on a day-long peace mission to try to ease tensions between her larger South Asian neighbours.
Hasina met Sharief, who ''briefed" (her) on ''the grave security threat faced by Pakistan as a result of India's nuclear test,'' the foreign ministry said.
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