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Zardari likely to meet PM in New York

Dispelling fears of a downslide in bilateral ties, Pakistan says that Prez Asif Ali Zardari would meet Manmohan Singh in New York next week to take the peace process forward.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2008 01:16 IST

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York this month, a cabinet minister said on Thursday, for their first talks since Zardari became President.

“The meeting in New York, I feel, is required because we have to continue to pursue the peace process,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad. “Yes, there will be difficulties, yes there will be hiccups, and there have been hiccups in the past as well, but we do not have to lose direction ... I am expecting a productive meeting.”

Zardari replaced Pervez Musharraf as President this month. Musharraf managed relations with India for nearly a decade, and since early 2004 he oversaw a peace process, which brought better relations. But ties have become more tense in recent months following a series of ceasefire violations.

The Prime Minister said last month the Kabul embassy bombing had cast a shadow over the peace process. Qureshi rejected a suggestion the process had come to a halt but said a meeting between Singh and Zardari on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly was necessary.