Natwar to visit Pak next month for talks

Associated Press

Islamabad, January 5:

India’s foreign minister will visit Pakistan next month for talks on the nuclear rivals’ 57-year-old dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, officials said today.

Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khursheed Kasuri and President Gen Pervez Musharraf during his visit in the first half of February, the official said on condition of anonymity.

He said a proposed bus service between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled portions of Kashmir and reunions between divided Kashmiri families would also be discussed in addition to other bilateral issues under discussion as part of a yearlong peace process. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan confirmed that Singh had accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan, but said the exact dates for the trip were still being worked out. He refused to give any other details.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper today quoted an unnamed senior Pakistani official as saying negotiations over Kashmir were moving to a “higher political level.”