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Don’t expect too much from Indo-Pak talks in January: Sartaj Aziz

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Sartaj Aziz

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz cautioned that one should not expect much from the talks scheduled in Islamabad in January between the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India.

Speaking to Radio Pakistan’s Current Affairs programme about the possibility of peace between Pakistan and India, Aziz said it would not be fair to expect instant resolution of all issues between the two countries.
Aziz said the comprehensive dialogue in January between Pakistan and India will focus on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

“And therefore, initially focus would be on reduction of tension and maintenance of calm on the Line of Control to provide relief to the people living across LoC,” he said.

Aziz said the comprehensive dialogue in January between Pakistan and India will focus on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

He said in a meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in Lahore on Friday it was decided that foreign secretaries of the two countries would meet in mid-January to decide details of dialogue on all issues.

To a question, he said promotion of good relations with all neighbours is the policy of Prime Minister Sharif as this is a pre-requisite to benefit from projects aimed at regional connectivity and resolution of energy crisis.

Injecting an element of drama into the see-saw Indo-Pak ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took the world by surprise by making a “stopover” in Lahore on his way back home from Kabul to greet Sharif on his 66th birthday.

The first visit by an Indian premier in 11 years marked another step forward by the two countries in their efforts to put on an even keel in their ties which was going through a chill until recently.

Modi also attended a marriage function of Sharif’s grand-daughter Mehrun Nisa (who is the daughter of Mariam Nawaz Sharif) at the latter’s Raiwind home on the outskirts of Lahore.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, meanwhile, said that Pakistan wants to resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully.

Addressing a round-table interaction on Kashmir in the capital Islamabad, he, however, said that Pakistan would continue to support the Kashmir cause but wants a peaceful solution to the issue.

He said that any international issue cannot be resolved with static approach and new ways must be explored to resolve the disputes, Radio Pakistan reported.

Rashid said war is no solution to any dispute which could be resolved through talks.

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China Pakistan Economic Corridor to be completed at all costs: Imran Khan

The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.

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CPEC Project

Islamabad, July 4 : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed that the government would complete the ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project at any cost and pass its benefits to the nation.

“The corridor is a manifestation of Pakistan-China friendship and the government will complete it at any cost and bring its fruit to every Pakistani,” Dawn news quoted Khan as saying said at a meeting on Friday held to review progress on the CPEC projects.

Terming the CPEC an excellent project for the country”s socio-economic development, he said the gigantic multi-faceted initiative would guarantee a bright future for the nation.

Lauding the performance of CPEC Authority, the remier said measures must be taken to improve its working as well as capacity.

The CPEC is a flagship $62 billion project of Chinese President Xi Jinping”s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.

The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.

According to the Dawn news report, the vast initiative is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan”s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects and special economic zones.

In November 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia, while some major power projects were commissioned by late 2017.

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No need to sit face to face with US: North Korea

Trump and Kim have met three times since June 2018 to try to reach a deal on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for US concessions, Yonhap News Agency reported.

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Trump-Kim meeting at DMZ

Seoul, July 4 : North Korea feels that there is “no need to sit face to face with the US” for talks, a top Pyongyang diplomat said on Saturday, accusing Washington of taking advantage of a dialogue only as “a tool for grappling its political crisis”.

First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui made the remark as talk of another summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gained traction recently after South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would push for such a meeting to take place before the November presidential election in America, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“Now is a very sensitive time when even the slightest misjudgment and misstep would incur fatal and irrevocable consequences. We cannot but be shocked at the story about the summit indifferent to the present situation of North Korea-US relations,” Choe said in a statement carried by Pyongyang”s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The US would be mistaken if it still thinks “negotiations would still work on us”, Choe said, adding the North has already “worked out a detailed strategic timetable for putting under control the long-term threat from the US”.

“We do not feel any need to sit face to face with the US, as it does not consider the North Korea-US dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis.”

Trump and Kim have met three times since June 2018 to try to reach a deal on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for US concessions, Yonhap News Agency reported.

At the first summit in Singapore in 2018, the two leaders agreed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, better bilateral relations and a lasting peace regime.

But their second summit in Hanoi in February 2019 ended without an agreement.

The two leaders met again four months later at the inter-Korean border and agreed to resume working-level negotiations.

The two sides held working-level talks in Stockholm in October, but no progress was made.

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Disaster

105-year-old man recovers from COVID-19 in Pakistan

According to Pakistan’s health ministry, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased to 221,896 with 4,551 deaths and 113,623 recoveries.

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Maulana Ghazi Fazal Rauf

Islamabad, July 4 : A 105-year-old man in Pakistan’s Punjab province has been discharged from hospital after successfully defeating COVID-19, the media reported.

Fazal Rauf, who is also a war veteran and has served in the Pakistan Army, was tested positive and had been quarantined in hospital since then, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rauf was tested for the disease again on Thursday and his report came out negative.

On Friday, e was shifted back to his home, and his condition remains stable.

According to Pakistan’s health ministry, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased to 221,896 with 4,551 deaths and 113,623 recoveries.

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