Atal meets Pervez in Islamabad

Vajpayee today met Pervez, their first formal meeting in two years after the failed Agra summit.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2004 12:39 IST

IN A NUTSHELL
 Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee met Pak president Musharraf on the sidelines of SAARC summit. It was described as a courtesy call. 
The two had not spoken formally since July 2001, when they attended a bilateral summit in Agra 
They earlier shook hands two years ago at the last summit in Kathmandu. 
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Pakistani President met with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday on the sidelines of SAARC summit, Pakistan's Information Minister and presidential officials said.

 
 File photo of Sunday's handshake in Islamabad

President General Pervez Musharraf welcomed Vajpayee at President House in the capital Islamabad at about 10:30 am (0530 GMT), said a security official at the residence who refused to be named.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had earlier told The Associated Press said, "The two leaders will discuss all issues" at the closed-door meeting.

It was not clear how long the meeting would last. A senior Pakistani official said no topic, including the flashpoint issue of Kashmir, was off the table.

Initially, Musharraf and Vajpayee planned a one-to-one meeting and later their aides were joining them, Indian officials said on the condition of anonymity.

Vajpayee was then to be joined by his Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra, Foreign Secretary Shahshank and other senior Indian officials dealing with Pakistan.

The meeting, on the second day of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, followed a similar face-to-face between Vajpayee and Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali.

But the meeting with Musharraf, Pakistan's main powerbroker, was considered more significant.

First Published: Jan 05, 2004 11:37 IST