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PC hints at talks with Pak in SAARC meet

 New Delhi, Feb 1 – Home Minister P Chidambaram today indicated that he may hold a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart during SAARC Home and Interior Ministers’ conference scheduled in Islamabad later this month, reports PTI.

“If I presume that I go to Pakistan, I presume I will hold bilateral talks if there is an opportunity but please remember that SAARC is a multi-lateral forum,” he said at his monthly press briefing here.

He was replying to a question whether he will hold bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart if he goes to Pakistan to attend the SAARC Home or Interior Ministers’ Conference.

In case Chidambaram travels to Islamabad, it would be the first ministerial visit to Pakistan since May, 2008 when then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had gone for talks as part of composite dialogue.

The third SAARC interior ministers’ conference postponed from November 24 and 27, 2009 at the request from Bangladesh because of parliamentary polls in that country is now scheduled from February 20.

The meeting will be attended by ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and is expected to discuss regional cooperation for dealing with the menace of terrorism, narcotics and organised crime.

The first such meeting was held in Dhaka in May 2006 and then in New Delhi in October 2007.

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