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Qureshi not to attend SAARC meet in Colombo

world Updated: Feb 22, 2009 23:20 IST

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will not be attending the SAARC ministerial meeting in Colombo later this week as he on Sunday left for Washington to hold consultations with the US on a review of the American policy for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who will represent India at the meet, was expected to meet Qureshi on the fringes of the conference which could have been the first high-level contact between the two countries after the Mumbai terror strikes.

Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir would represent Islamabad at the SAARC meet scheduled for February 26.

Qureshi, who is leading a delegation that includes representatives from Pakistan’s defence ministry and security agencies, will meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Special Representative Richard Holbrooke and Bruce Riedel, co-chair of the Policy Review Panel.

The review, ordered by Obama last month, will look at the military and non-military aspects of US policy in the region. The review is to be completed before a NATO summit in April.