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|February 20, 1999||
Sharief rolls out the red carpet at Wagah
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee this evening crossed the Wagah border into Pakistan on a historic peace mission and described his visit as a ''defining moment'' in the history of South Asia.
''I bring the prayers and goodwill of my fellow countrymen. Let us put aside the bitterness of the past and make a new beginning together,'' Vajpayee said in a prepared statement soon after he was accorded a tumultuous welcome by Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharief and senior members of his government.
As the Delhi-Lahore bus with 'Sada-e-Sarhad'inscribed on it, crossed the Radcliff line into Pakistan, Sharief rolled out a red carpet reception for Vajpayee and his elite entourage.
As Vajpayee alighted from the bus, Sharief welcomed him on the Pakistani side and the two leaders shook hands and then hugged each other.
Sharief introduced Mrvajpayee and his entourage, which included eminent persons from different walks of life, senior members of his government and others.
Vajpayee said he was overwhelmed to be in Pakistan after a hiatus of 21 years for which he was grateful to Sharief. ''This is a defining moment in South Asian history and I hope we will be able to rise to the challenge,'' he said.
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