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Talks with Centre soon: Hurriyat chief

Onkar Singh in Delhi | December 24, 2003 21:32 IST

All Party Hurriyat Conference chairman Maulvi Abbas Ansari said a delegation will be travelling to Delhi 'soon' to hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had appointed Advani to hold talks with the Hurriyat leaders, who had been demanding that the government should hold 'highest level' of talks with them. The leaders had also said the government should not expect them to meet government interlocutor N N Vohra.

Ansari told rediff.com that the meeting of the executive committee of the APHC would be held in a couple of days to discuss the matter.

"We would be meeting in next two or three days to consider the report of former chairman Abdul Gani Bhat and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who had gone to Delhi a fortnight back and held discussions with various ambassadors and other leaders. Since Mirwaiz is not well so we want to give him time to recover and then hold the meeting," Ansari said.

Ansari, however, refused to pin a date when the talks would be held. "When the talks would be held is immaterial. They would be held soon and we would be coming to Delhi. That is for sure. Only the time needs to be decided," he said.

Bilal Lone, another leader of the APHC, said that he is staying back in Delhi because his mother is not well.

"I would be travelling to Srinagar in a day or so. We heard that the talks would be held after Parliament session. Now we hear that it would be after the SAARC summit. What matters most for us that the government is keen to hold talks with the APHC. Whether the talks are held before SAARC or after it does not matter much," he said.

Sources in the Union home ministry declined to answer any question regarding the timing of the talks.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who heads the splinter group of All Party Hurriyat Conference, has opposed the talks with the government. Geelani is known for taking pro-Pakistan stand.


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