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No meeting planned with the Indian FM


ISLAMABAD: Denying the media reports, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that no meeting has been scheduled with his Indian counterpart during his three-day visit to the UAE.
Qureshi, who is currently on a three-day visit to the UAE to discuss bilateral relations, said this in an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times.
The foreign minister stressed that he is here in the UAE to discuss bilateral UAE-Pakistan relations only. “I am here for a bilateral visit and not an India-specific agenda. My agenda is UAE-Pakistan and not India-Pakistan,” he said, adding that meeting with the Indian foreign minister, who is scheduled to visit the UAE, is not planned. “I don’t think a meeting is set out with the Indian foreign minister,” he said.
“Friends generally, including the UAE, have always said that the two countries should sit and resolve issues through a dialogue. India has always been hesitant of a third-party mediation; we welcomed it and were never shy of it,” said Qureshi.
He pointed out that there are some positive developments taking place between the two countries of late. “For example, the recent recommitment to the 2003 ceasefire understanding is a good development because Kashmiris on both sides were suffering from unprovoked firing. That, in my view, is a positive development,” Qureshi said.
“The fact that the Indian Prime Minister sent messages to the Pakistani Prime Minister on National Day is a positive development. Also, a toned down rhetoric is a positive development,” he added.
“The fact that India wants to see a peaceful Afghanistan and region means that they recognise it won’t happen if there are two important players not seeing eye to eye,” he said, noting that India will have to revisit some of the unilateral actions that it took which is against the spirit of peace and bilateral discussion. If they are willing to revisit those unilateral actions, then Pakistan is willing to sit and talk,” he added.
He said that Pakistan welcomes third-party facilitation but, no matter what friends say, the initiative has to be indigenous. The political will has to be demonstrated by leadership of India and Pakistan. They can be suggestive and facilitators but, ultimately, it is the people of South Asia who have to decide what kind of future they visualise for posterity. “Pakistan would appreciate anyone and everyone, including the UAE, playing a positive and constructive role,” he added.
“The UAE has a large Pakistan and Indian diaspora. It recognises that Indians and Pakistanis have contributed to the development of the UAE and it has good relations with both. We are happy with the role it can play,” he said during an interview in Dubai on Sunday. – TLTP