Sun, 08 Apr 2012 08:17:45 GMT

Zardari to invite Manmohan to Pakistan, all issues on table

In his first visit to India, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit his country "by the end of this year" when the two leaders hold one-on-one talks here Sunday sans aides and note-takers.

Manmohan-Zardari meet: No structured agenda, focus on bilateral ties

"President Zardari will invite Prime Minister Singh to visit Pakistan by the end of this year," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters in Islamabad.

This is not the first time Pakistan leaders will be inviting Manmohan Singh, but this is the first time a time-frame has been set up, triggering speculation of substantive talks on Sunday leading to a breakthrough that in turn could pave the way for such a visit.

During a brief meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had invited Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan. Manmohan Singh had replied that he would be happy to do so if there was something substantive and "something to celebrate."

After the talks, no formal statements are likely to be made by both leaders and neither are any agreements likely to be announced. The action will be mostly behind the scenes to bridge the trust deficit on the so-called core issues, the sources said.

In Islamabad, the foreign office spokesperson described Zardari's visit to India as "important." He said that although there was "no agenda", the two leaders are expected to discuss all bilateral issues and the regional situation.

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