'Wonderful news' coming out of India-Pakistan talks - Annan

6 January 2004

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed progress being made towards improved relations in South Asia after the leaders of India and Pakistan held summit talks early this week.

"I think it is wonderful news, what is coming out of Islamabad, and I am extremely happy that the talks are taking place," the Secretary-General told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York. He voiced confidence that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan "will find the statesmanship and the leadership and the wisdom to move the process forward."

Looking to the broader context, Mr. Annan stressed that "improved relations between the two countries would mean a lot for the region, not just in terms of reducing political tensions, but also in economic and social terms, and it would be beneficial to all the smaller countries in the region."

"I am really excited with the developments, and I applaud the two leaders for the actions that they have taken," he added.


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