ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday said there is no delay in Foreign Minister level talks between Pakistan and India and expressed hope that talks will be held at the end of this month in New Delhi as per schedule.
"The Pakistan-India Ministerial level meeting will be held in New Delhi at the end of this month but dates are being worked out," said Foreign Office Spokesperson Tehmina Janjua at the weekly briefing of the Foreign Office in Islamabad.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will lead Pakistan's delegation to the Pakistan-India Ministerial level dialogue in New Delhi.
Regarding delay in the finalisation of the dates for the meeting, the spokesperson said there is no delay in the talks but dates are being finalised keeping in view the engagements of Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers.
She said meeting will be preceded by a meeting of the two foreign secretaries in New Delhi.
Janjua said another meeting of the Working Group on Cross-LOC Confidence Building Measures relating to trade and travel of Kashmiris will be held in New Delhi on July 18 and Director General South Asia, Zehra Akbari will lead the Pakistani delegation to the meeting.
The spokesperson said Khar will also visit Bali, Indonesia on July 22 to 23 to lead Pakistan's delegation to the 18th Ministerial meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
The ARF Forum, comprising 27 members including China, the EU, the Russian Federation and United States, is an important forum to deliberate on traditional and non-traditional security concerns in the Asia Pacific region, will provide the opportunity to discuss such vital issues.
The spokesperson said that Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is leaving for Ankara on Saturday for regular political consultations and for discussions on the regional and global situation.
Answering a question, about the significance of the visit of Foreign Secretary, she said, although it is regular annual consultation with Turkey, but any proposal for peace and security in the region and suggestion for reconciliation process for Afghanistan could also be discussed in the meeting with the Turkish leadership.
Replying to a question on the recent bomb blast in Mumbai, the spokesperson said Pakistan has already condemned in the strongest terms the terror attacks in Mumbai.
She said, "Pakistan and the people of Pakistan who have suffered terrorism, understand and share the anguish in India caused by the tragic loss of life and property."
The spokesperson said Pakistan and India continued to suffer from the terrorism and both the countries recognised that all such issues of terrorism should be discussed on bilateral mechanism. She said Pakistan categorically condemned the recent Mumbai attacks and emphasised the need for increasing cooperation in counterterrorism.
Replying to a question on Pak-US relations, the spokesperson said there has been development in these relations especially on the civil side and the US has ensured continuation of civilian assistance to Pakistan while negotiations are underway for the resumption of the military assistance.
The spokesperson said the United States on Thursday reassured to Pakistan that it will keep sending civilian assistance after it deferred $800 million in military aid.
She said Thomas Nides, the US deputy secretary of state for management and resources, delivered the message in a telephone conversation with Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
She said the United States has also ensured that it will continue to work productively on the civilian side and the assistance will continue to flow.
About security threats to Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, the spokesperson said, al Qaida has threatened Pakistani officials and institutions therefore, precautionary measures had to be taken for the security of the government officials.
Replying to a question about supporting any solution to Afghan issue, the spokesperson said Pakistan has repeatedly clarified its position that it will extend full support to any Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.
She said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with United States.
The spokesperson said Pakistan also condemned the assassination of Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
She said President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have offered condolences to the Afghan President over the telephone.
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