Sunday, Apr 27, 2003
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By B. Muralidhar Reddy
In an informal talk with reporters, Mr. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said, "a solution on all issues including Kashmir" are round the corner. Referring to the visit of the United States Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, he said reduction of tension between India and Pakistan was on top of his agenda.
Meanwhile, the Dawn in a front-page report has said that Pakistan is awaiting a formal offer for dialogue from India after responding positively to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee's recent offer.
Commenting on Mr. Vajpayee's statement that he was waiting for a response from Pakistan, officials here said the Indian Prime Minister made his offer publicly through the media and Pakistan had responded to this offer in a positive manner, it said.
``Not only the President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Foreign Office have welcomed Mr. Vajpayee's offer, but Pakistan has also announced that as soon as the offer is conveyed through diplomatic channels, Islamabad will immediately send a senior official to New Delhi,'' Dawn quoted an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying.
Although Mr. Vajpayee's subsequent statements have been qualified by conditions for talks such as stopping "infiltration'' across the LoC and dismantling "terrorist infrastructure,'' the President, Pervez Musharraf, has responded with cautious optimism, it said.
The paper said analysts here attribute Mr. Vajpayee's offer to multiple factors. These range from the place of offer (occupied Kashmir) to international pressure, to Yashwant Sinha's vitriolic statements to appearing conciliatory before the June G-8 Summit that he is due to attend as an observer.
``But all this analysis notwithstanding there is a belief among official circles that Islamabad's offer to send an emissary to work out the agenda for the bilateral talks will evoke a positive response from New Delhi.
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