Feb 25 ‘not a bad date’ for talks: Pakistani foreign minister

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Pakistan’s foreign minister says that Feb 25 is ‘not a bad date’ for talks with India and that the stalled composite dialogue should also resume.

‘We do not have too many concerns regarding dates. February 25 is not a bad date, that is if it also suits our foreign secretary, and as to where we meet, it is really not that important,’ Shah Mehmood Qureshi told The News in an interview.

India had proposed two dates – Feb 18 and Feb 25 – for foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan.

Qureshi said that the file relating to the talks will soon be moved from the foreign ministry to the prime minister’s secretariat and then to the president’s office.

‘Of course, we feel that these talks should be the re-start of the composite dialogue and take it up from where we left off. After all, all the issues that both sides want to raise are included in the composite dialogue,’ he said.

The newspaper said that the minister asserted Kashmir was central issue for Pakistan.

‘India has even started quiet diplomacy with the Kashmiris, in fact it is an issue that all three recognise’, he said.

Another issue of importance for Pakistan will be water, Qureshi maintained.

‘The parliament has debated this and it has been raised at the climate change conferences. Pakistan is an agriculture-based country and 90 percent of our water is needed for agriculture. When I met with (Indian) Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh, I presented this issue. Of course, strategic balance is another issue for us’, he added.

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