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No meeting between Gilani, Singh on sidelines of SAARC: Pak

world Updated: Apr 15, 2010 19:05 IST

Pakistan on Thursday said no meeting has been scheduled so far between Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the SAARC summit later this month though it had proposed one and insisted that restarting dialogue was "a necessity".

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing that no meeting between the two premiers has been scheduled on the sidelines of the regional summit to be held in Thimphu on April 28-29 though a proposal for such a meeting was part of a roadmap provided recently by Islamabad to New Delhi.

"As far as a formal meeting in Bhutan is concerned, it has yet not been pencilled in.

"Nevertheless, given that our roadmap also provided for a summit meeting in Bhutan, we look forward to a meaningful engagement with India," he said in response to a question.

Singh was yesterday evasive when asked whether he would meet Gilani in Bhutan during the SAARC Summit. "I think there is still time to think about the meeting in Bhutan. When we reach there we would cross the bridge."

The Prime Minister had yesterday said India could resume dialogue with Pakistan on all issues if "concrete" and "effective" action is taken against those behind the Mumbai terror strikes.

Basit said neither country would be doing the other a "favour" by resuming the peace process that was stalled in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

"Let me also underline here that engaging in meaningful and result-oriented talks is in our mutual interest and in the interest of this region. It is not a favour by Pakistan to India or vice versa," he said.

Asked about Singh's remarks, Basit said the legal procedure for the of Pakistani suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks was underway.

However, he made it clear that talks are "a necessity between the two countries and for peace in the region".

Referring to the two brief meetings between Gilani and Singh on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by the US in Washington, Basit said the "two Prime Minister shook hands and exchanged pleasantries".

He also said "there was mutual warmth in the handshakes".