Pakistan Foreign Min Does Not See Breakthrough with India
Thursday, 17 September 2009

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Wednesday he did not expect any breakthrough on improving relations with old rival India when he meets Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna in New York this month.

The nuclear-armed rivals have held three bilateral meetings on the sidelines of international gatherings since June but have yet to resume a formal peace process broken off by India following last November's attack on Mumbai that was blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Qureshi and Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna are due to meet on the sidelines the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 26.

"Frankly speaking, I am not expecting any major breakthrough," Qureshi told reporters in the eastern city of Multan.

India has insisted that Pakistan take forceful action against militants suspected of involvement in the Mumbai assault, in which 166 people were killed, before the formal peace process launched in 2004 can be resumed.

Pakistan, keen to get the peace talks back on track, has acknowledged the Mumbai assault was partly plotted and launched from its soil and has begun the trial of five suspects. Authorities recently arrested two more suspects.

But India is also pressing Pakistan to prosecute Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group which India says was behind the Mumbai attack.

Saeed was detained in Pakistan in December, after a UN. Security Council resolution put him on a list of people and groups supporting al Qaeda.

But in June, a court released him on grounds of insufficient evidence, prompting the Pakistani government to launch an appeal in the Supreme Court for his re-arrest. That case is pending.

India says Saeed was the mastermind of the Mumbai attack but Pakistan says evidence provided by India was insufficient and not tenable in court.

"The Indian mindset which I see and the indications we are getting are not hidden," Qureshi said. "But I am going with a positive mind for a constructive engagement."

"I will present Pakistan's point of view in categorical terms. I will present facts, whether someone likes them or not."

Last week, the two countries agreed that their foreign secretaries should hold talks before the ministerial meeting but a brief border clash underscored the fragility of the ties of the countries which have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Kashmir region.


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