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Kashmiri separatists skeptical about 2nd round of talks
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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April 14, 2006 00:55 IST

The Prime Minister's Office has said that no date has been set up for the second round of talks between Dr Manmohan Singh [Images] and the leaders of the various political parties in Srinagar [Images] in May. A leading national daily had given the date as May 25 for the next round of talks.

"The talks are to be held in May, but so far we have not given any firm date as yet," Dr Sanjaya Baru told on phone on Thursday night.

According to sources, PMO in its message to the state government has indicated to keep the dates between May 25 to 28 free so that Dr Singh could fly down to Srinagar and continue discussions which he held on March 25 in New Delhi where leading political parties including National Conference, People's Democratic Party and other outfits also participated.

All Party Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq told from Jammu that they are unlikely to participate in the talks where everyone is invited.

"You hold talks in a congenial atmosphere. You cannot go somewhere where there is a crowd. So far we have not received any invitation. We want to know what has happened to the talks between the government of India and the All Party Hurriyat Conference. Last time we had talks in September 2005," he said.

He confirmed that during his participation in a roundtable conference in Pakistan he had pleaded for inclusion of China in talks on Kashmir.

"China is our immediate neighbour and a developing economic power. Besides, it has a large chunk of areas from Kashmir. We are always looking towards USA for help. Why not ask China for assistance instead," he said.

Mirwaiz is travelling to United Kingdom next week where he will present a paper on Kashmir at Oxford University.

"There is confusion about one of my statements that was misreported in the Indian media. I was participating in a seminar on Jammu and Kashmir [Images] in Pakistan where I had to give my point of view on Kashmir in 2020. But I was quoted saying that the problem could be solved in 2020," he pointed out.

Yasin Malik of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front thought that such talks are meaningless and it would not help in solving the Kashmir problem.

"If India and Pakistan want to move forward then they should involve the militants in the talks like India has done in the case of Nagaland. Only then there could be a forward movement. I read somewhere Mirwaiz saying that Kashmir problem could be resolved by 2020. That would be suicidal for the Kashmiris. The way India and Pakistan have moved forward there is a need to resolve this problem in shortest possible period," Malik said.

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