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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Pakistan criticises talks delay
By Barbara Plett
BBC News, Islamabad

Riaz Mohammed Khan
Mr Khan says the bombings and peace talks should not be linked
Pakistan's foreign secretary has called the postponement of peace talks with India a "negative development".

Riaz Mohammed Khan also denied Indian allegations Pakistan had allowed its territory to be used by militants for attacks on its neighbour.

India postponed the talks after the train bombings in Mumbai, which have left about 180 people dead.

It said the environment was not favourable for a meeting this week to review the third round of talks.

Mr Khan said linking the Mumbai bombings with the talks was incongruous, especially as both sides had stated they would not let terrorism derail the peace process.

Map

Indian officials have suggested the train bombers were supported by elements in Pakistan, and demanded that Islamabad actively rein in militants on its soil.

Mr Khan denied that Pakistan let its territory be used for launching attacks against any country, and said Indian officials had not formally lodged any charges or passed on any information.

He added that Pakistan would not reverse confidence-building measures agreed with India, and expressed hope that a fourth round of talks would go ahead.

Observers say the Mumbai blasts have stalled the peace process between the nuclear rivals, but are not expected to end it.

The two countries began peace talks in January 2004.

They followed a prolonged period of tension after militants attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001. That attack led to both sides amassing troops along their border.

Although both sides have made some headway in improving travel and other ties between them, there has been little sign of progress in solving their core dispute over the divided territory of Kashmir, which both countries claim.


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