The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Islamabad needs to do more: Atal

New Delhi/Quetta, May 18: Pakistan’s latest peace initiatives notwithstanding, a cautious Atal Bihari Vajpayee today insisted that Islamabad should take more steps to end cross-border terrorism.

Referring to Pakistan’s latest moves, including the release of 17 Indian prisoners, the Prime Minister said: “Several steps have been taken and more must be taken.”

Making his point clear, Vajpayee said: “A process has begun. Let us see how these steps are linked with ending cross-border terrorism.”

Talking to reporters at the end of his six-day summer holiday in Manali, Vajpayee said an “appropriate atmosphere” for talks will be created only when cross-border terrorism ends.

His Pakistani counterpart, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, expressed the hope in Quetta today that the ongoing process of resuming the Delhi-Islamabad dialogue would reach its rightful conclusion.

Asked about any plans to travel to Pakistan for a Saarc meeting, Vajpayee said he had not received any invitation.

Vajpayee said Pervez Musharraf was not going to St Petersburg when asked if he would be meeting the Pakistan President during his coming visit to Russia. “Shall we arrange for his visit too'” the Prime Minister joked.

Insisting New Delhi’s position had not changed, he said: “We are making efforts to see an end to cross-border terrorism so that an appropriate atmosphere is created for talks. Our position is this and we stick to it.”

Asked why Delhi was taking peace initiatives when cross-border terrorism was on, Vajpayee said: “There is no compulsion to talk.”

Talking to reporters at the airport in Quetta on his arrival from Islamabad, Jamali said now that the relations between the two countries were out of the cold storage of the past one-and-a-half-year, all outstanding issues would hopefully be resolved through negotiations.

The issues between India and Pakistan could not be resolved overnight and the process of resuming dialogue would move forward step by step, Jamali said.

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