Ready to open new chapter in improving ties with India: Gilani


Briefing the cabinet on his recent meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, Gilani said Pakistan is "ready to work with India with full commitment and sincerity towards opening of a new chapter in improving relations between the two countries".

The joint statement issued after the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh "acknowledges that dialogue is the only way forward" and stresses the need to "share real-time, credible and actionable information to counter any possible future terrorist threats", he noted.

Describing the results of the meeting as "a major breakthrough," he praised his Indian counterpart, saying: "I hold Dr Manmohan Sign in high esteem and respect and consider him a statesman with the vision of peace and prosperity."

He said he had told Singh about the need to resume the stalled composite dialogue process in order to resolve all outstanding issues.

"I underlined the importance of the early resumption of the composite dialogue process and Pakistan believed in the imperative of moving forward this process for confidence- building which was the pre-requisite for resolution of all outstanding issues," he said.

Gilani said he had "detailed discussions" with Singh on terrorism and "apprised him of the efforts we had already undertaken to investigate the...Mumbai attacks".

He also said he had "affirmed the importance that Pakistan attaches to working towards a friendly and cordial relationship with India, based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual interest".

Referring to the joint statement, Gilani said it also "underlines the shared commitment of both countries to chart a way forward for Pakistan-India relations" and "acknowledges that dialogue is the only way forward".

The joint statement "expresses the agreement of both sides that terrorism was a threat to both the countries". It also "de-links action on terrorism from the composite dialogue process and emphasises that these two matters should not be bracketed," he said.

The document also "underlines (Pakistan's) concerns over Indian interference in Balochistan and other areas of Pakistan" and "calls for working to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence," Gilani said.

However, the joint statement has been criticised by the opposition in India and Prime Minister Singh has made it clear that talks between the two countries will not be resumed till Pakistan takes action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Gilani said the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will meet as often as necessary and report to the two Foreign Ministers, who would meet at the next UN General Assembly session in New York in September.

The cabinet applauded efforts by Gilani and the foreign ministry to "promote good neighbourly relations with India on the basis of equality, mutual respect and for resolving all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir".

The cabinet also appreciated the "wisdom and statesmanship demonstrated" by Gilani and Singh to chart the way forward through dialogue.

Gilani reiterated that the fight against terrorism will continue till the "complete elimination of the militants and return of peace and stability in the affected areas".

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