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Vajpayee cautions Kasuri

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FOR CONTINUING DIALOGUE: Pakistan Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri with the former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, at his residence in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V. Sudershan
FOR CONTINUING DIALOGUE: Pakistan Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri with the former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, at his residence in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V. Sudershan

Neena Vyas

"Haste in resolving the outstanding issues could derail the peace process"

NEW DELHI: The peace dialogue between India and Pakistan must continue, but haste or impatience in resolving the outstanding issues between the two countries could derail the process, the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is understood to have told Pakistan Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri during an hour-long interaction between the two at his residence here on Thursday.

Mr. Kasuri, accompanied by several members of his delegation and Pakistan's High Commissioner in India Shahid Malik, called on Mr. Vajpayee. He complimented Mr. Vajpayee for having started the peace process and asked for his party's support for it, as "national consensus" in both India and Pakistan were necessary for any successful resolution of long-standing problems.

Former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, who was present (as was former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Brajesh Mishra) later told The Hindu that Mr. Vajpayee emphasised the importance of Pakistan making good its commitment in the Islamabad joint statement of January 6, 2004 that it would not allow territory under its control to be used for attacks against India.

Mr. Vajpayee emphasised that any terrorist incident was a setback to the peace process even as he agreed that a national consensus was necessary for any lasting solution to problems between the two countries.

According to Mr. Sinha, Mr. Kasuri pointed out that as a result of strong counter-terrorism measures taken by his country, especially on the border with Afghanistan, Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism.

Mr. Vajpayee's emphasis on no haste in reaching any solution was in line with what the Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani had said to Mr. Kasuri during their meeting on Wednesday.

Mr. Advani had warned against a quick fix solution on the Jammu and Kashmir issue.

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