M A I N   N E W S

PM briefs Advani, Jaswant on meeting with Musharraf
Rajiv Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Leaders of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh today and in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani, respectively, yesterday as part of his plan to brief the allies as well as the Opposition on his meetings with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and US President George Bush in New York last week.

National Security Adviser J.N. Dixit was also present at the two meetings held at the Prime Minister’s res dence at 7, Race Course Road.

The Prime Minister has already briefed UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and leaders of the Left front on the subject.

Sources in the PMO said the Prime Minister told Mr Advani, Mr Jaswant Singh and the Left leaders that his government was committed to continue the peace process with Pakistan.

At the same time, the Prime Minister told both leaders that during his meetings with President Musharraf and Mr Bush he took a firm line on the issue of cross border terrorism.

Mr Manmohan Singh told these leaders that that he made it clear to President Musharraf that the peace process could not go forward unless Pakistan adhered to its commitments on ending cross-border terrorism against India.

Political sources told The Tribune that Mr Advani “picked holes” in the September 24 joint statement between India and Pakistan issued in New York after the Manmohan-Musharraf meeting.

Mr Advani is understood to have told the Prime Minister that the UPA government had erred in the formulation of the September 24 joint statement in which there was a specific reference to the Kashmir issue (what Pakistan always insists) but there was no mention of cross-border terrorism.

The Leader of the Opposition conveyed to Dr Manmohan Singh that President Musharraf wanted to hoist a similarly-worded joint statement during the Agra Summit in July 2001.

The Prime Minister, in turn, disagreed with Mr Advani’s analysis of the September 24 joint statement and told him that he had forcefully raised the issue of terrorism with President Musharraf.


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