United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today encouraged the leaders of India and Pakistan to look at their recent talks as the first step in a process towards resolving their differences in the interest of both nations and the entire South Asian region.
A spokesman for the Secretary-General said in a statement that Mr. Annan called on Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani Gen. Pervez Musharraf to persevere with their efforts to establish a sustainable bilateral dialogue.
"A sustained Indo-Pakistani dialogue, especially at the highest level, is sorely needed, and the summit should be seen as an important step towards this," spokesman Fred Eckhard said.
"It would have been too much to expect major breakthroughs on the difficult issues of substance from a first meeting," he noted. "The fact that the two leaders are talking can contribute to an easing of tensions, especially on the question of Kashmir."