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Kashmir: Centre ready for talks

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 15. The Centre today reiterated its offer of talks to all political groups — including the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference — to find a solution to the Kashmir problem.

"We are ready to talk to anybody. We are not excluding anybody. All are included in the dialogue process," the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, told reporters after a meeting with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and the senior State Congress leader, Abdul Gani Vakil, separately.

The Mufti said that dialogue should continue.

"The Centre is clear in its stand that the forward movement of the peace process should continue and for that purpose all political parties and separatist groups should be included in it. The dialogue is open to everyone," he told reporters.

Hurriyat leaders held two preliminary rounds of talks with the then Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, last year but the process did not go on after the UPA Government took office in May last.

Official sources said that no separate invitation had been extended to the Hurriyat but the Centre had already declared its intention of holding talks with all parties and groups, including the Hurriyat, which had to indicate its willingness to resume the talks with the Home Minister.

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