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PM ready to meet Hurriyat leaders

Ajay Kaul On Board Special Aircraft | April 22, 2005 21:44 IST

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday expressed his willingness to meet separatist Hurriyat Conference leaders even though earlier efforts did not prove fruitful.

"I am willing to talk to any group which is willing to talk and abjures violence," the PM told journalists accompanying him on a three-day visit to Jakarta for the Asian-African Summit.

Singh said efforts were made earlier for such a meeting on April 14 and 15. However the Hurriyat leaders cancelled the meeting despite agreeing to meet the PM. They instead met Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who was visiting Delhi, on April 16. "The meeting did not fructify," Singh added.

Responding to a question about the allegations that the South African company Denel paid commission to middlemen to supply anti-material rifles to India, Singh said, "This is unfortunate."

"Democratic and competitive politics have a logic of its own. We have to make efforts to ensure that this recent development does not become a disincentive for taking decisions to acquire arms," he said.

Also read:
Hurriyat hawk slams joint statement
Centre orders probe into S Africa defence firm
Centre plans new plea on Kargil defence purchases

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