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Zardari, Manmohan to meet in New York

Both leaders would attend General Assembly sessions of the UN later this month and the Kashmir issue seems to dominate the discussions between the two sides.

world Updated: Sep 10, 2008 11:32 IST

President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to the United States to attend the annual General Assembly session of the United Nations later this month.

"No meeting has been confirmed but certainly the president will be meeting several international leaders and we would welcome a meeting with the Indian prime minister if he is there to attend the session," said a senior official.

Zardari, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson who took oath of office as president on Tuesday, said at his press conference immediately afterwards that he was in touch with India on the Kashmir issue and knew all about the backdoor diplomacy process at work.

"The nation will soon hear the good news on Kashmir," the president said.

He said that all parties including the PPP and the major opposition party of Nawaz Sharif Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had shared their views on the Kashmir issue.

However a PPP leader privy to talks between Zardari and Sharif regarding the Kashmir issue said that nothing less than implementation of the UN resolutions would be acceptable to the Zardari government.

"We are not going to compromise on the Kashmir issue and the only solution acceptable to us is the implementation of the UN resolutions," said the leader requesting anonymity.

He said that there is no doubt that the PPP government wants excellent friendly bilateral ties in all areas with India but at the same time "we want the Kashmir issue to be resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people and in accordance with the UN resolutions".

The UN resolutions call for plebiscite in both parts of Kashmir.

Zardari in his press conference announced that he rather than his handpicked Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani would be attending the annual UN General Assembly session.

He said that he would hold talks with US President George W Bush on the terrorism issue and particularly the attacks by the NATO forces inside Pakistan.

Zardari will be the first civilian president elected democratically to address the UN General Assembly. Previously either prime ministers or military dictators who had assumed the charge of presidency had addressed the General Assembly.