Largest ever media corps arrives to cover Vajpayee's visit

LAHORE, Feb 20 (APP): The largest-ever contingent of electronic and print media arrived here in the Punjab capital to cover the peace talks between the two hostile nuclear states. A special plane carrying 246 Indian-based journalsts reached here this afternoon. In all, more than 400 journalists, working for news agencies and newspapers, published across the world, have started pouring in the city. The magnitude of interest in the peace initiative taken by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz to resolve the outstanding issues with its arch-rival is unprcedented, an official told APP here on Friday. A senior official of Press Information Department (PID), who received Indian jouranlists at Lahore Airport, said the interest taken by the foreign media in the coverage of the historical event is quite unusual. He said almost all the New Delhi-based foreign journalists, besides the Inidans have reached by the special plane for the coverage of the two-day visit of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Local jouranlists as well as the Pakistan-based foreign correspondents have also been listed in the coverage team.

Pakistan believes in incremental approach: "it is a historic opporunity to resolve issues":Spokesman

LAHORE, Feb 20 (APP)- The two-day Pak-India summit is "a historic opporunity" and Pakistan is looking forward to "a substantive and result-oriented dialogue." "Ours is an incremental approach and believe that all issues facing the two countries will come up under discussion," Tariq Altaf, Spokesman Foreign Office said in a briefing held in a local hotel Friday evening. "All spectrums of the Pak-India relations are expected to be discussed by the Summit." He said, Pakistan will extend a warm welcome to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit to Pakistan Saturday. He said, the two Prime Ministers will be free and forthright to discuss all issues. "We will be willing to resolve our problems on the basis of justice and equity, in a spirit of finding solution to issues. We have to take incremental approach to prove that we are there to solve our issues." He said, the officials have remained engaged to frame items on the agenda. "Now is the time to resolve all outstanding disputes," he said. He said, the core issue of Kashmir is holding progress on talks and said, some forward looking measures required to be taken. On signing of CTBT, he said, now Pakistan's stand is not linked to that of India in the matter.

Sino-Pak cooperation to strengthen in 21st century : General Haotian

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 (APP): General Chi Haotian, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Chinese Defence Minister, said here Friday his visit to Pakistan is aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and strengthening the partnership of cooperation towards the 21st century between China and Pakistan. General Haotian, who is leading a 16-member high level delegation on a five-day visit to Pakistan, said, the military relations between China and Pakistan is an important component of the inter-state relations. China and Pakistan, he said, are close neighbours linked by mountains and rivers and the friendship between the two countries can be traced back to a long time ago. "The relationship between China and Pakistan is very good and all-weather. Sino-Pak friendship, he said, is a fine example of friendly coexistence between countries of different social systems. "Mutual understanding, sympathy, and support have always made us to go through thick and thin together. "The force of the wind tests the strength of the grass, and time reveals a person's heart." Sino-Pakistani friendship has gone through the tests of time and changes of situation," he said. General Haotian, who is also State Councillor, said During the visit, the Chinese delegation will meet with the leaders of Pakistani government and armed forces, and exchange views on issues of common concern.

Settlement of disputes can usher era of peace and stability: Wisner

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 (APP): Vice Chairman American International Group (AIG) and former US Ambassador to India, Frank Wisner Friday said, if Pakistan and India could resolve their disputes, an era of peace and stability could emerge in the region. Frank Wisner said this during a call on Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz, FO sources said here. Wisner complimented Pakistan on its initiative to improve relations with India. He apprised the Foreign Minister of AIG's activities and plans for expansion of its work. Sartaj Aziz lauded AIG's participation in the insurance sector of Pakistan. He said that South Asia, as a whole, would be "a major investment destination in future." Aziz briefed Frank Wisner, on the investment policy of the Government which provided a large number of incentives and facilities to foreign investors.

Some flexibility in Indian position to make bilateral talks more fruitful: Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 (APP): Foreign Minister on Friday hoped that some flexibility in Indian position could make bilateral talks "more positive and fruitful." Aziz said this while giving briefing to Associate Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Minister of Environment of New Zealand, Simon Upton, who called on him here Today. The Foreign Minister briefed him on Pak-Indian relations with particular reference to the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, said FO sources. Sartaj Aziz said, "given some flexibility in the Indian positions," the process of bilateral dialogue could become productive.

Pakistan, India should evolve strategic restraint regime in South Asia : Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 (APP): Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz has said that it is imperative that Pakistan and India evolve a strategic restraint regime in South Asia that encompasses both the nuclear and conventional fields in order to reduce the risk of conflict. Both the countries need to take steps to help reduce the risk of conflict in the backdrop of nuclear tests conducted by them in May last which has increased tension in South Asia, he said this in an interview with BBC. He said, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit during the inaugural run of the first cross border bus service, should help improve relations between the two countries because the two leaders seem prepared to discuss the tough issue dividing them. To a question, the Foreign Minister said, the peace and security is essential for the future of both the countries which could not be achieved without accepting Kashmir as a critical and core issue.