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Khurshid-Aziz meeting: Nothing official about it

September 10, 2013 19:02 IST

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will have an "informal" and not a "structured" meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz on Friday in Kyrgyzstan during which they will try to schedule a meeting between their Prime Ministers in New York later this month.

Parrying a direct reply on whether there will be a meeting between Khurshid and Aziz on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet, Spokesperson in External Affairs Ministry said the External Affairs Minister will take the opportunity to interact "informally" with several other leaders present there.

"While he (Khurshid) is in Bishkek on 12 and 13 of this month for SCO, he will take the opportunity to interact informally with several other leaders who will be present there depending on their schedules and mutually convenient time slots.

"These are usually in the form of meetings which are informal conversations. There are no structured or full-fledged meeting that is planned during the SCO summit because it is a short meeting. As regard to any specific meeting, we are still working on it...," the spokesperson said.

However, sources have already indicated that there will be a meeting between Khurshid and Pakistan Prime Minister's national security and foreign policy adviser on September 13.

While the request for a meeting in Bishkek was sought by the Pakistani side through their High Commission here, the India side has already given their consent for the same, sources said.

They said the meeting between Khurshid and Aziz was also aimed at reducing the tension between the two countries in the backdrop of a series of ceasefire violations and creating conducive environs for a possible meeting between their Prime Ministers. Both India and Pakistan have blamed each other for the ceasefire violations and summoned the envoys.

While Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his desire to meet his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he will have to factor in "certain harsh realities" like India being affected by terror before arriving at a "final decision" on meeting his Pakistani counterpart in New York.

Singh, who was talking to reporters on his return after attending the G20 summit in the Russian city of St Petersburg, had also asserted that he would be happy to meet Sharif under "normal conditions" as he had respect for the Pakistani premier, who had said the right things about how India-Pakistan relations should evolve.

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