Friday, February 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mansingh meets US officials

WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (UNI) — Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh has met several senior U.S. officials, including White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, for a comprehensive exchange of views, going far beyond the limited agenda of finalising President Clinton’s visit to India next month.

According to official sources, all possible issues concerning the region, including terrorism, non-proliferation and India-Pakistan tension figured during Mr Mansingh’s two-day talks here.

He is the first senior official, other than Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh who has been conducting a dialogue with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott for the past over one year, to visit the U.S.A after India’s May 1998 nuclear tests.

Besides Berger, the Secretary met Talbott and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering who had a brief stint as the U.S. Ambassador in New Delhi during the Bush presidency.

Meanwhile, President Clinton yesterday said that the White House had yet not finalised his South Asia itinerary, thus, indicating that his visit to Pakistan is still an open issue.


Terms for Azhar’s release

ISLAMABAD, Feb 10 (PTI) — Pakistani militant Maulana Masood Azhar, being held in “protective custody”, might be released if he agrees to certain conditions, an Urdu daily reported here today.

Azhar, one of the three militants released by India to end the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane in December last, has been in the custody of Pakistani intelligence agencies for the past five days in Rawalpindi, ‘Ausuf’ said.

It said that Azhar might be released on condition that he suspend the activities of his “Jaish-e-Muhammadi” and stop touring the country.


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