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Indian Foreign Minister Visits Pakistan Talks on Kashmir

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan says the peace dialogue with rival India has yet to make solid progress toward solving the Kashmir problem. Mr. Khan made the remarks prior to the arrival in the Pakistani capital of Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh.

He said Pakistani leaders hope to impress on Mr. Singh the need for substantial progress regarding the mountainous territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which both sides claim as their own, and which has been an unending source of conflict and war between them.

"We will have to underline that the progress on Jammu and Kashmir, and [on] peace and security, has not been encouraging," said Mr. Khan. "Some people would say that we have not started moving in the right direction yet, that we have to make a real tangible beginning." He said that although Mr. Singh appears to be upbeat over progress during the year-old peace dialogue, Pakistan is disappointed that not enough attention has been paid to the Kashmir question.

But Mr. Khan described the Indian foreign minister's upcoming meetings with Pakistani leaders as an important chance to advance the talks.

"Every opportunity is a new opportunity," he added. "Every day is a new day until we resolve the issues between Pakistan and India, particularly the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and other complex issues."

One specific point to be discussed are proposals for bus service linking the Pakistani and Indian portions of Kashmir.

The Pakistani spokesman said a proposed gas pipeline connecting Iran and India, via Pakistan, will be also discussed during Mr. Singh's visit.