Hailing progress in talks between India and Pakistan, Annan urges leaders to stay course

19 February 2004

Encouraged by the "steady progress" being made in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the two South Asian neighbours to press forward in tackling sensitive issues.

Mr. Annan "is heartened by the agreement reached at the latest round of talks in Islamabad at the level of Foreign Secretaries on a schedule of meetings for the coming several months and the commitment reiterated to discuss and arrive at a peaceful settlement of all bilateral issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, to the satisfaction of both sides and the people concerned," his spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said in a statement.

The Secretary-General hailed this "very positive development as evidence of the determination of the two countries to settle all outstanding issues and to open a new era of cooperation and peaceful co-existence."

The statement encouraged both sides "to remain steady in this course and to approach the more difficult stages of the talks in a spirit of compromise and visionary statesmanship."


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