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Rao to hold talks on June 24 to finalise FMs meeting agenda

world Updated: Jun 15, 2010 23:46 IST

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad on June 24 to finalise the agenda for an upcoming meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.

Rao is scheduled to arrive in the capital on June 23 and will hold talks with the Pakistani Foreign Secretary the following day, diplomatic sources said.

The parleys will focus on the agenda for a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to be held in Islamabad on July 15, the sources said.

Qureshi had recently said that Rao would accompany Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram when he travelled to Islamabad to attend a SAARC Interior Ministers meeting on June 26. However, sources said the Indian Foreign Secretary had decided to advance her visit due to other engagements.

An inter-ministerial meeting will be held tomorrow to finalise Islamabad's approach to the meeting between the two Foreign Secretaries, the sources said.

Besides representatives from key ministers like foreign affairs and interior, the meeting will also be attended by officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Rao will be the first senior Indian official to travel to Pakistan since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. India suspended the composite dialogue process following the attacks, which were blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba.

At a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Bhutan in April, the two countries decided to resume their peace process.

India has said the two sides should adopt a phased approach towards the normalisation of relations.

An Indian court recently convicted and sentenced to death Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab for his role in the Mumbai attacks that claimed the lives of 166 people.

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of seven suspects, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, for allegedly planning and facilitating the attacks.