Report: Indian, Pakistani Leaders May Meet in New York

Published October 21st, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The leaders of nuclear-powered rivals India and Pakistan may meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York in November, a newspaper reported Sunday. 

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf would both be in the city to attend the General Assembly in the second week of November, the Asian Age said.  

"New York might once again become the venue for talks between Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf," it said. 

Vajpayee and Musharraf were due to meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month, but the meeting was cancelled following the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. 

The Indian foreign office dismissed the report as "hypothetical" but the newspaper said the Pakistan foreign office had "hinted strongly" at a possible meeting. 

The Asian Age said the dates for Musharraf's address to the General Assembly were being worked out with an eye on Vajpayee's visit to New York. 

"If the dates coincide, as Islamabad hopes, the two leaders could meet to comply with Washington's request to bring down the rising temperatures in the region," it said. 

US President George W. Bush recently called on the rivals to "stand down" in their wrangle over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir for the sake of regional stability, as the United States bombs neighbouring Afghanistan in a bid to stamp out alleged terrorist networks there. 

Vajpayee has accepted an invitation from Bush to make a "working visit" to Washington on November 9. 

Musharraf and Vajpayee last met in July in the Taj Mahal town of Agra for the first summit meeting between leaders of the two countries in more than two years. But the talks broke down with each side blaming the other for its intransigent stance on Kashmir. 

Tensions over Muslim-majority Kashmir have risen recently, with heavy firing last week between Indian and Pakistani troops over border in the disputed region -- New Delhi, (AFP)  



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