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First, terrorism has to stop: Natwar Singh
September 10, 2004 15:02 IST
Observing that the Composite Dialogue process was being pursued step-by-step, External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh today made it clear that until cross-border terrorism was stopped, talks on the Kashmir issue cannot move forward.
The minister also brushed aside the importance being given to separatist Kashmiri leaders by the Pakistani leadership, emphasising that a duly elected government is in place in Jammu and Kashmir after elections in which there was a voter turnout of 44 per cent.
"Until cross-border terrorism is stopped, talks on Kashmir issue cannot move forward," he told Star News.
Singh said the government has not stopped Pakistani leaders from meeting anyone they chose to.
On the proposed meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in New York on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly session later this month, Singh said, "This is the first time they are meeting. It is more of getting to know each other."
He said this will be followed by a meeting of foreign secretaries in December when they will review progress in the Composite Dialogue process.
The two foreign secretaries are expected to chalk out the schedule for talks for the second round on eight subjects of the composite dialogue covering J&K and peace and security, including confidence-building measures.
More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
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