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India, Pakistan to hold back-channel talks in Dubai

Last updated on: August 29, 2013 16:12 IST

Former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Shahryar Khan and ex-diplomat S K Lambah, the point men for India-Pakistan back-channel diplomacy, will meet in Dubai on Thursday to ease tensions and firm up a planned meeting between the premiers of the two countries, a media report said.

The decision to initiate back-channel diplomacy to address tensions caused by ceasefire violations along the Line of Control was taken at a meeting of Pakistan's defence committee of the cabinet on August 24.    

The two seasoned envoys will meet away from the media’s eyes in Dubai to work out details for the planned meeting of the prime ministers on the margins of the United Nations general assembly in New York next month, The Nation daily reported.

Asked about the report, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said both countries were engaged in Track-II diplomacy.

"India’s point-person Mr Lambah and Pakistan’s point-person Mr Khan have been in touch with each other,” he told a weekly news briefing.

"As for the meeting (between the premiers), it has been the position of the Pakistan government that should an opportunity arise, we believe such a contact between the leadership would be a welcome opportunity to discuss all issues that require urgent discussion and to improve relations between the two countries," Chaudhry said.

According to the newspaper report, Khan was asked to come to Islamabad from London, where he was on a private visit, so that he could proceed for the Dubai meeting after being briefed by the government.

Prior to his departure for talks with Lambah, Khan met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his top foreign policy aides and a foreign office team.

Image: Ceasefire violations along the LoC have made way for the back channel talks in Dubai

Photograph: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

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