The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Singh talks peace, Pervez Kashmir

Paris/Islamabad, Sept. 11 (PTI): The Prime Minister today hinted he might consider an internal ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, saying Delhi would “look at anything” if the terrorist structure was dismantled and violence stopped.

Three days before his dinner meeting with the Pakistan President in New York, Manmohan Singh repeated his impression of Pervez Musharraf as someone he could “trust and do business with”.

He said he was going into the meeting with “ideas” and had “many things to discuss” ' covering all the issues under the composite dialogue.

Musharraf, however, said the talks should focus on Kashmir ' the other issues could be discussed by the ministers and secretaries.

He said that during his talks with US President George W. Bush, he would discuss the “cause of resolution of Palestinian and Kashmir disputes”.

On board a special Air-India flight that brought him to Paris this evening, Singh fielded a volley of questions on his upcoming talks with Musharraf. He generally stuck to his known stand, saying borders cannot be redrawn.

“But we must work together to make these borders irrelevant through people-to-people contacts, through greater trade, through discussions between the two sides of Jammu and Kashmir on mutual developmental issues. So, there are many possibilities,” Singh said.

Did he have new ideas on the peace process, the Prime Minister was asked.

“I think we have ideas,” he said. “There are many things to discuss.

“All agenda items laid out at the end of my meeting with President Musharraf in April will be covered. Some progress has been made. The bus service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar is now a reality.

“There are several other elements in that statement to which we have committed our two countries. We will review the progress and see what further can be done.”

Meeting reporters in Islamabad, Musharraf took his usual line of highlighting Kashmir over other issues.

“I have to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. I want to promote the cause of peace and resolution of disputes, especially the Kashmir dispute,” the President said before leaving for New York where both he and Singh would be attending the UN General Assembly.

“When we talk about dispute, the basic focus ought to be on Kashmir. I have no doubt' (that) other issues do make progress at secretary or minister level but when two leaders meet they ought to discuss issues that cannot make progress at lower level,” Musharraf said.

Singh, asked if he had any disappointments relating to the progress of the peace process, said: “Pakistan has taken some steps but it is too early for me to say how effective they will be. We have to judge the situation on the ground.”

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