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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Musharraf holds talks with Singh
Natwar Singh (L) and Pervez Musharraf
Mr Singh (L) was meeting President Musharraf for the first time
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has met India's new foreign minister for the first time as the nations try to push forward their peace process.

Natwar Singh, who became foreign minister after the Congress party's surprise election victory in May, was in Pakistan for a regional summit.

The meeting is the latest in a series of talks held since the rivals agreed to resume a full dialogue in January.

The nations have fought three wars since independence, two over Kashmir.

Confidence-building

After the meeting, Mr Singh said: "Both sides reiterated the importance of continuing the dialogue process in an atmosphere free of violence and tackling the scourge of terrorism with renewed vigour."

India and Pakistan are committed to discuss and settle all bilateral issues including Jammu and Kashmir
Natwar Singh

In a statement, President Musharraf said: "It is important to address [Kashmir] with sincerity with a view to reaching a final settlement that accorded fully with the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiris within a reasonable timeframe."

Mr Singh came to the Pakistani capital for the meeting of the seven-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He has also met his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, and the new prime minister, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

The nations are discussing confidence-building measures and have covered a range of bilateral matters, including transport, diplomatic representation, border lines and water.

However, the disputed region of Kashmir, which both nations claim, remains the biggest obstacle in the peace process.

Analysts said this week's talks were exploratory and it was unlikely they would bring concrete proposals.




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