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Jamali skips J&K issue

Opening the Summit, Pak premier called for resolution of political issues in the region but refrained from making any reference to J&K.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2004 18:25 IST

A landmark summit of SAARC countries opened here today with Pakistan calling for resolution of political disputes in the region but it refrained for the first time from making any reference to Jammu and Kashmir.

Inaugurating the 12 SAARC Summit at the swanky Jinnah Convention Centre, Pakistan Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali said that proposals like economic and monetary union in South Asia would remain a distant dream unless political disputes are resolved. Political differences should be addressed in a just and realistic manner.

Political disputes, Jamali said, have held up economic cooperation in the region. Pakistan was committed to robust multi-dimensional relations but "we must realise that we are able to overcome differences and disputes and create a climate for mutual confidence."

This passing reference to political disputes was in sharp contrast to direct references to Kashmir that Pakistan had made in previous SAARC meetings and other international conferences in the past.

Before the Summit, Pakistan had committed not to raise or discuss Jammu and Kashmir in this conference.

The three-day Summit of seven SAARC countries is being attended by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Bangladesh Premier Khaleda Zia, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Nepalese Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, Maldives President Abdul Gayoom and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Yaeser Thinley besides Jamali.

First Published: Jan 04, 2004 12:18 IST