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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
India and Pakistan review peace
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar (R) and Indian counterpart Shashank
Shashank (left) and Riaz Khokhar: Hour-long talks
Top Indian and Pakistani foreign ministry officials have met in Islamabad to push forward peace moves.

The hour-long talks come on the sidelines of a South Asian summit, to begin in Pakistan's capital on Tuesday.

Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh arrived in Islamabad later on Monday to attend the discussions.

Earlier, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told the BBC the two men would meet for talks in the next few days.

Mr Singh will take part in a two-day meeting of foreign ministers drawn from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

It is important to for India and Pakistan, as two neighbours, to have good relations
Indian Foreign Secretary Shashank

On Monday, Indian Foreign Secretary Shashank met his Pakistani counterpart, Riaz Khokar, to review the peace process.

"We'll carry forward the process of negotiations," Mr Shashank said after the meeting.

"It is important for India and Pakistan, as two neighbours, to have good relations."

Mr Khokar said the two officials exchanged ideas on how to push ahead with the dialogue.

"These ideas will now be discussed by the foreign ministers who will spell out the details later," he said.

Warming up

The talks between Mr Singh and Mr Kasuri will be the third time they have met on the sidelines of one summit or another in the space of a month.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri (L) and Indian counterpart Natwar Singh
India and Pakistan have already held two rounds of talks
Last week, India and Pakistan announced a series of meetings ahead of formal talks between the two foreign ministers scheduled for late August.

The nuclear rivals will hold six rounds of talks in Delhi and Islamabad between now and then.

These will cover a range of issues, including the dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Peace talks between the two countries began earlier this year after months of hostility.

India and Pakistan have already held two rounds of talks during which they agreed to notify each other before testing missiles and to restore embassies to full strength.

They also pledged to hold "sustained and serious" talks to resolve the Kashmir dispute, over which they have fought two wars since independence in 1947.

Neither side has indicated whether they plan to involve Kashmiri separatists opposed to Indian rule at any stage of the peace talks.


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The BBC's Paul Anderson
"All eyes will be trained on the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers"



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