India-Pakistan dialogue continues

Pact signed to grant consular access to prisoners but no progress made on Kashmir.

    Wednesday's meeting in Islamabad was the conclusion of the fourth round of talks [AFP]


    Pranab Mukherjee, his Indian counterpart, said the main purpose of his visit had been to establish contacts with the new Pakistani government.
     
    He said he found "strong willingness and desire on the Pakistan side to move ahead toward full normalisation of our relationship".
     
    Mixed results
     
    Qureshi said "a lot of progress" has been made "in our interaction".
     
    He said "we hope to maintain this" in the next round of talks.
     
    "Talks are progressing in a constructive manner on the issue of Kashmir," Qureshi said.
     
    However, he acknowledged that the two sides had "not made significant progress on our core issues".
     
    Kashmir, the divided Himalayan region, is claimed in full by both countries and has sparked two of their three wars.
     
    Qureshi said that a fresh round of peace talks covering issues such as Kashmir, terrorism, and economic co-operation will start in July.
     
    Earlier on Wednesday, Mukherjee met Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan president, as well as Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister.
     
    Mukherjee also said Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, had accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan.
     
    The visit will take place this year, Qureshi said.

    Political turmoil
     
    The Indo-Pak dialogue had been put on hold for several months because of political turmoil in Pakistan.
     
    They are the first to take place since a new civilian government took power in Pakistan seven weeks ago.
     
    Wednesday's meeting was the conclusion of the fourth round of talks.
     
    India and Pakistan launched the peace process in 2004 in an attempt to end six decades of hostilities since independence from Britain.
     
    Since 1989 the Indian part of Kashmir has faced a Muslim revolt, which New Delhi accuses Islamabad of supporting.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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