Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003
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India & World
By B. Muralidhar Reddy
Gen. Musharraf this evening left on a two-week, four-nation trip that would take him to the U.K., Germany, the U.S. and France. The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, Masood Khan, briefing correspondents said that Pakistan-India relations was an important part of Gen. Musharraf's agenda.
Mr. Masood Khan played down the series of Pak-specific statements made by the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, in the course of his U.S./U.K. tour and maintained that Mr. Advani has been giving several statements. He did not wish to react to the latest missive from Mr. Advani that no "fruitful talks" were possible with Islamabad if there was no change in Gen. Musharraf's attitude.
When a reporter wanted to know if Mr. Advani's earlier statement that India would prefer to talk to Gen. Musharraf rather than the Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Mr. Khan said, "it does not matter who talks to whom. The important thing is the dialogue process should begin and quickly."
He said a Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation delegation was leaving for Delhi on Wednesday for consultations on resumption of the Delhi-Lahore bus service.
The spokesman said that Gen. Musharraf would be received at Camp David as an honoured guest and leader of the Muslim world. He said the significance of the President's visit had increased manifold because of the regional situation.
Pakistan is clearly thrilled at the Gen. Musharraf and George W. Bush meeting. It is for the first time that any American President has invited a South Asian leader to the Camp David.
According to a report in the Washington Post Mr. Bush settled a debate within his Government and would welcome Gen. Musharraf, to Camp David as a reward for his continuing help in the war on terror.
Quoting U.S. officials, the paper said that although some Bush aides were worried about how India would react to General's visit, intelligence agencies strongly supported the Camp David treatment for Gen. Musharraf, since Pakistan has been crucial as a recruiting ground and a staging area for the operations in Afghanistan.
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