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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 22:45 GMT 23:45 UK
Musharraf speeds up India dialogue
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
The two leaders came close to agreement in Agra
By Susannah Price in Islamabad

Pakistan's military leader, General Pervez Musharraf, has sent a formal letter to the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, inviting him to visit the country sooner rather than later.

The proposed visit to Pakistan will be an important test of both sides' commitment to resolving their problems over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

When the two leaders met at their landmark summit in the Indian town of Agra earlier this month, President Musharraf asked Mr Vajpayee to come to Pakistan to continue the dialogue when their meeting broke up without agreement.

It had been expected that the two-day Agra summit would end with some form of statement outlining areas for future discussion, but the two sides disagreed on what emphasis to place on Kashmir.

However Mr Musharraf's invitation - one of the few concrete results of the summit - was accepted.

Commitment

Despite the lack of a breakthrough in Agra, both leaders have reiterated their determination to continue talking, including at summit level.

Indian PM
Mr Vajpayee: Indian concerns have to be addressed

Mr Vajpayee last came to Pakistan in February 1999 to meet the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, but talks broke down shortly afterwards due to the fighting in Indian administered Kashmir.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister has also invited his Indian counterpart to Islamabad, but before Mr. Vajpayee comes to Pakistan, he is expected to meet President Musharraf in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

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See also:

18 Jul 01 | South Asia
Pakistan investigates Indian POWs
15 Jul 01 | South Asia
Positive start to Agra summit
14 Jul 01 | South Asia
Musharraf seeks fresh start with India
14 Jul 01 | South Asia
Indian press cautious on summit
06 Jul 01 | South Asia
India and Pakistan: Troubled relations
17 Jul 01 | South Asia
Q & A: What next after Agra?
17 Jul 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Vajpayee's summit setback
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