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Pakistan ready for talks without preconditions: Sharif

British Prime Minister David Cameron chats with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at a working session during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Fort Angelo in Valletta, Malta on Saturday.  

Indicating a warming up of bilateral ties, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that Pakistan was ready for talks without preconditions.

Mr. Sharif’s comment came in response to a question in Malta where he stopped over to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The declaration of Pakistan’s willingness for talks acquires significance as Mr.Sharif is expected to land in Paris on Sunday morning.

Both the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan are scheduled to speak at COP21 Climate Change Conference’s inaugural session in Paris which will be attended by 140 heads of state and government.

The declaration by Mr.Sharif comes after several feel good initiatives that both sides undertook since the cancellation of talks between the National Security Advisors of both sides in August.

Both sides had kept the Track II channel open, despite the cancellation of official talks. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is in Malta to attend the CHOGM summit, has also contributed to the Track II initiatives with her push for fast-tracking humanitarian cases pending on both sides.

However, the India-Pakistan cricket series, also a part of the Track II initiatives, scheduled in mid-December in Sri Lanka is yet to get the green light from Indian officials.

Pakistan declared the cricket series on November 26 but India has been delaying the formal announcement, indicating hesitation over the issue. Mr.Sharif’s call for talks has already received a warning from the Congress spokesperson Manish Tewary, who said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “needs to tell the country if there is a back channel in operation with Pakistan.”

India and Pakistan, however, held a major Track II dialogue in New Delhi between November 19-21 where public personalities, including those from the Congress, were present.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 7:43:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sharif-for-talks-with-india-without-preconditions-geo-news/article7927610.ece

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