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No preconditions on either side: Pak on India's talks offer

world Updated: Feb 11, 2010 19:55 IST

Pakistan on Thursday said there are no pre-conditions on either side for the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks, indicating its readiness for parleys with India later this month.

"Let's not get into specifics. At this stage it is important to remember that there are no pre-conditions on either side," Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters.

He was asked whether there has been a climbdown since Pakistan has been insisting that nothing short of a composite
dialogue will be accepted.

India has proposed talks between Foreign Secretaries Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir to be held on either February
18 or 25.

"We are yet to respond to India's suggestion, but whenever the meeting takes place we have to discuss all
issues that are of importance to us. We strongly believe that with pre-conditions, we can't have a dialogue," Basit said.

Basit's remarks came hours after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accused India of trying to sidestep Kashmir issue, saying "In fact, they (India) do not want to talk about Kashmir."

Gilani also made it clear that the Indo-Pak composite dialogue, covering eight issues including Kashmir and stalled since the Mumbai terror attacks, is the "only way forward".

India had suspended the composite dialogue in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and linked resumption of talks with dismantling of terror infrastructure in Pakistan and punishing those behind the attacks.