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Discussions on Siachen issue to continue
This is the text of the Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting of Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Khurshid M. Kasuri and the Indian External Affairs Minister, Shri K. Natwar Singh met in Islamabad on 3 October 2005 for a review meeting on the progress of the second round of the Composite Dialogue comprising Peace & Security including CBMs; Jammu & Kashmir; Siachen; Wullar Barrage/Tulbal Navigation Project; Sir Creek; Terrorism & Drug Trafficking; Economic & Commercial Cooperation and Promotion of Friendly Exchanges in various fields. The plenary meeting of the revived Pakistan-India Joint Commission was also held in Islamabad on 04 October 2005. The meeting was convened pursuant to the decision taken by President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in their Joint Statement issued on 18 April 2005. The talks were held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere.
2. The Ministers held detailed and substantive discussions on the whole range of issues within the framework of the Composite Dialogue process and expressed satisfaction over the progress in the Composite Dialogue since their last review meeting in September, 2004. They recalled the outcome of the discussions between the President of Pakistan and Prime Minister of India reflected in the Joint Statements of 6 January 2004, 24 September 2004, 18 April 2005 and 14 September 2005. The Ministers reiterated that possible options for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir should be explored in a sincere, purposeful and forward-looking manner. The Ministers reaffirmed their determination not to allow terrorism to impede the peace process. They resolved to carry forward the peace process and to maintain its momentum.
3. The Ministers expressed satisfaction over developments that have taken place over the last one year, including the smooth operation of the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service.
4. The two Ministers endorsed the recommendations made by the Foreign Secretaries as reflected in the Joint Statement of the 02 September 2005. It was agreed that Expert level meetings will be held by the end of this year to finalize modalities for the meeting points of the divided families across the LoC and to initiate a truck service on Muzaffarabad-Srinagar route.
5. The two Ministers:
a. welcomed the agreement to operationalize the Lahore-Amritsar bus service in November, 2005;
b. agreed that a meeting of experts would be held in Islamabad on 25-26 October, 2005 to start the Nankana Sahib-Amritsar bus service at an early date;
c. agreed that a meeting at the technical level would take place before the end of the year to discuss arrangements for operationalizing the Rawalakot-Poonch bus service as early as possible;
d. agreed that a technical level meeting would take place before December 2005 to discuss modalities for starting truck service on Muzaffarabad-Srinagar route for trade in permitted goods; and
e. welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen by Pakistan and India. They agreed that the understanding reached between the Interior Secretaries on exchange of prisoners and fishermen would be implemented in letter and spirit including immediate notification of arrests by either side, consular access to all persons within three months of arrest, release of prisoners on completion of sentence and verification of national status, and early release of inadvertent crossers across the LoC. The Indian side handed over a draft of an agreement on consular access.
6. The two sides exchanged ideas on the Siachen issue and agreed to continue their discussions so as to arrive at a common understanding before commencement of the next round of the Composite Dialogue in January next year.
7. The two sides also exchanged ideas on the Sir Creek issue, taking into account the joint survey of the horizontal section of the boundary in the area.
Without prejudice to each otherís position, they agreed to undertake a similar joint survey of the Sir Creek itself, and to consider options for the delimitation of their maritime boundary.
They agreed that the joint survey should commence before the end of the year and its report will be considered in the next round of the Composite Dialogue. Ideas relating to the delimitation of the maritime boundary would also be addressed in the Composite Dialogue with a view to its early resolution.
8. The two Ministers reiterated their commitment to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project and agreed that this would contribute significantly to the prosperity and development of their countries.
9. The two Ministers also welcomed the signing of the following:
a) Agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles.
10. The Indian side presented drafts for consideration proposing amendments to the existing agreements on visa, visits to religious shrines and new proposals for a Cultural Exchange Programme. The two sides agreed to pursue these matters under the Composite Dialogue framework.
11. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to maintain the integrity of the Composite Dialogue.
12. The two Ministers expressed satisfaction at the revival of the Joint Commission and hoped that the Joint Commission would contribute significantly in strengthening the mutually beneficial relations and cooperation between the two countries. The two sides decided to restructure and streamline the work of the Joint Commission in the light of developments that have taken place since its last meeting in 1989.
13. In this context, the two sides had a meaningful and constructive exchange of ideas on restructuring the Joint Commission and subjects to be considered under its purview. The understandings reached would form the guidelines for the future work plan for the Joint Commission. The next meeting of the Joint Commission will be preceded by technical level working groups on Agriculture, Health, Science & Technology, Information, Education, I.T. & Telecommunication, Environment and Tourism.
14. The External Affairs Minister of India invited the Foreign Minister of Pakistan to visit India. The invitation was accepted and dates would be finalized through diplomatic channels.
15. The External Affairs Minister of India also paid courtesy calls on President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.
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