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PM, Sonia meet Left leaders on Jiabao, Musharraf visits

April 08, 2005 14:12 IST

Ahead of the visits of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Friday had a breakfast meeting with the leaders of Left parties.

External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh briefed the leaders on the high-profile visits at an hour-long meeting attended by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India leaders A B Bardhan and D Raja, Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Abani Roy and Forward Bloc's Debabrata Biswas.

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Later, Yechury told reporters the Left parties were happy with the government's foreign policy direction.

"On the foreign policy sphere, the government is going according to our understanding in the Common Minimum Programme...the direction is good," he said.

Raja said they had been informed that Musharraf would be in India for 48 hours and the Left parties had congratulated
the government for successfully running the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus. "This was a good confidence-building measure and efforts to foster peace between India and Pakistan should continue," he added.

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The external affairs minister told reporters that the meeting was "exclusively" to brief the Left parties about the visits by the Chinese and Pakistani leaders.

"We will do the same exercise with opposition leaders also. They are all with us on this," he said.

While Jiabao will be in India for three days from Saturday, Musharraf will arrive on April 16.

Asked about a resolution adopted at CPI-M's 18th party Congress asking the government to severe military ties with Israel, Yechury said: "Our stand is that Israel should demolish the wall with Palestine, otherwise India should consider sanctions against it."


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