Kashmir discussed as agenda item, difficult to say what solution will emerge: Vajpayee

LAHORE, Feb 22 (APP)- "Jammu and Kashmir issue was discussed in the agreed agenda this morning" by the Indo-Pak summit "and the discussion continues", Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said here Sunday. "It is, however, difficult to say (at this stage) what solution will emerge." "The question of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed in the agreed agenda this morning. We have said this in the joint statement. Discussion on the matter continues. It is very difficult to say what solution will emerge. Wait and see," Vajpayee said while responding to a question at the jampacked joint press conference at the Governor House, at the conclusion of his two-day state visit. The question was, "Is India willing to address the question of giving right of self-determination to the people of Indian- held Jammu and Kashmir. In the two documents signed today, we find mention of determination and resolve by the two sides to deal with the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir." The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), "has been discussed," he told another questioner. "No decision has, however, been taken in this behalf," Vajpayee stated.

Two leaders hold "substantive and wide-ranging talks" of far- reaching positive impact

LAHORE, Feb. 22 (APP)- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Sunday said, Pak-India summit talks have been "substantive and wide- ranging", and results of these talks are of wider and far- reaching positive impact. "I am convinced that the objectives of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia can be achieved provided there is the will and commitment," he said. The process of dialogue will help in promoting cause of peace and stability and advancement through cooperation. The Prime Minister read out the statement at the end of the two-day summit talks between the two leaders, at the joint press conference held at the darbar hall of the Governor House. He said, two important documents have been signed today, which "reflect an earnest desire on our part to turn a new leaf in the chapter of Pakistan-India relations." Preceding the joint press conference, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee inked the Lahore Declaration while the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India, Shamshad Ahmad and K. Raghunath, respectively, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Nawaz Sharif said, he was happy to note that Prime Minister Vajpayee has shared with him "the vision of a prosperous and progressive South Asia at peace with itself and contributing to global peace and prosperity." He said, "we must bring peace to South Asia. We must bring prosperity to our peoples." "We owe this to ourselves and to our future generations." Neither Pakistan nor India has gained anything from the conflicts and tensions of the past 50 years. "The peoples of the region risk loosing out in the march to development if we remain caught in a vicious cycle of mistrust and suspicion." He said, "if we look around us, confrontation is giving way to cooperation. Complex disputes are being resolved. Nations are increasingly becoming engaged in mutually beneficial interaction." "There is no reason why these positive global trends should bypass South Asia," he said. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, he would like a Pakistan- India relationship that is free of tensions and based on mutual trust and confidence. Should we achieve this, there is no limit to cooperation between our two countrties. "Let us dedicate our energies to furthr promote and strengthen regional cooperation under SAARC for the peoples of South Asia, through peace, security and development. We must bring peace to South Asia. We must bring prosperity to our peoples." In his statement read out on the occasion, Atal Behari Vajpayee said that "Jammu and Kashmir is one of the issues we are discussing within the framework of our composite dialogue. We will negotiate with sincerity on this and on all other issues." Vajpayee said, the signing of the two important documents, reflect the areas of understanding that were established in the course of his visit and the forward looking agenda Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and he had been working on. "We must now implement our various understandings in good faith." He said, his visit is over "it was brief but substantive." "I have been moved by the attention and hospitality extended to me and the delegation of eminent persons who accompanied me." Vajpayee thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif "most warmly for this." He invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Begum Sahiba to visit India at their earliest convenience "and to give a chance to repay the many courtesies and kindness that I have received."

A new era of peace and prosperous co-existence should be ushered, says Vajpayee

LAHORE, Feb. 22 (APP)-Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said here Sunday that there was need to open new avenues by India and Pakistan for attaining the objective of peaceful co-existance. 'History can be changed-- not the geography ,we are neighbours and should learn to co-exist in peace and gain prosperity',he said adding , 'we want to see a prospering Pakistan'. He expressed the hope that the people of Pakistan want the same for India. The Indian Premier mainly spoke extempore and reiterated his pledge to promote an environment of peace, friendship and cooperation between India and Pakistan. He was addressing the civic reception arranged in his honour at the Governor House Sunday evening. ' Earlier I intended to come up to Wagha border only,however on the request and invitation of Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif I extended the stay in Lahore for 24 hours',Vajpayee said. He said, after this brief stay and the discussions with his counterpart, the 'distance between Lahore and Delhi has been reduced', while referring to a new atmosphere of friendship.The distinguished guests at the reception hailed this development and applauded him several times during his speech. The Indian Premier, while using poignant poetic expression regretted the retrogression faced by the people in this region, which he said is brimming with a vast natural resource base and ample human potential. In this context he said that India and Pakistan have fought three wars and said war should be avoided to 'save the future generations'. While reading excerpts from his poem which pledged to avoid war the Indian Premier highlighted the value of life. However, for all these positive developments in the region bold stance is required,he said and emphasised , 'you will find me steadfast and strong in this resolve'.

Stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India's interest: Vajpayee

LAHORE, Feb 22 (APP)- "A stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India's interest," Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, now on a 2-day state visit, here said Sunday. He made these remarks while recording his impressions in the 'Visitors' Book' after paying a visit to the historic 'Minar-i- Pakistan'--a place where the famous resolution calling for Pakistan's founding-- was passed on March 23, 1940, by the visionary leadership of the All-India Muslim League led by Quaid- i-Azam. "From the historic 'Minar-i-Pakistan', I wish to assure the people of Pakistan of my country's deep desire for a lasting peace and friendship," Vajpayee observed. "I have said this before, and I say it again, that a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India's interest." "Let no one in Pakistan be in doubt about this. India sincerely wishes the people of Pakistan well," he added. Following is the text of the impressions recorded by the Indian Prime Minister: "From this historic 'Minar-i-Pakistan', I wish to assure the people of Pakistan of my country's deep desire for lasting peace and friendship." "I have said this before, and I say it again: A stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India's interest. Let no one in Pakistan be in doubt about this. India sincerely wishes the people of Pakistan well".

India wants to buy power from Pakistan: Vajpayee

LAHORE, Feb 22 (APP)- Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee Sunday said that India want to purchase power from Pakistan. " If Pakistan has surplus power (electricity), India will like to buy it, if it is given at affordable rates," he said while speaking at civic reception at the Governor's house here, Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, governors of all the four provinces, Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, members of federal and Punjab Cabinets, members of senate, national and provincial assemblies and foreign and local media were present on the occasion. Vajpayee while talking of a bumper wheat crop in India, said that Pakistan could get it from India instead of importing it from far-off countries. "I have suggested Mian Sahib (Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif) that wheat can be supplied at your door step ," he said. He said that India was making efforts to improve relations with all the countries of the region. " We have recently signed a free trade agreement with Sri Lanka and water accord with Bangladesh," he said. Vajpayee said that India want to have agreements on trade with Pakistan too. " We are also negotiating trade agreements with Nepal and Bhutan," he added. Referring to newly launched Dehli-Lahore bus service, the Indian Premier said that a bus service would also be initiated between Dhaka and Calcutta.

Pak-India intensifies efforts to resolve Kashmir issue

LAHORE,FEB 22 (APP): Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan on Sunday declared that they shall intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. They decided that they shall promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. In their declaration signed at the end of two-day visit of the Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Atal Behari Vajpayee further decided that they would refrain from intervention and interference in each other's internal affairs. The two sides also declared that they shall intensify their composite and integrated dialogue process for an early and positive outcome of the agreed bilateral agenda. They said sharing a vision of peace and stability between their countries, and of progress and prosperity for their peoples; The Primers convinced that durable peace and development of harmonious relations and friendly cooperation will serve the vital interests of the peoples of the two countries, enabling them to devote their energies for a better future: Recognizing that the nuclear dimension of the security environment of the two countries adds to their responsibility for avoidance of conflict between the two countries, the two heads of government expressed their commitment to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and the universally accepted principles of peaceful co-existence; They reiterated the determination of both countries to implementing the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit; They said they are committed to the objectives of universal nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; The declaration further said "Convinced of the importance of mutually agreed confidence building measures for improving the security environment; It was decided that the two governments shall take immediate steps for reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons and discuss concepts and doctrines with a view to elaborating measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at prevention of conflict. They reaffirmed their commitment to the goals and objectives of SAARC and to concert their efforts towards the realization of the SAARC vision for the year 2000 and beyond with a view to promoting the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life through accelerated economic growth, social progress and cultural development. They also reaffirmed their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and their determination to combat this menace.

D-8 conference concludes with joint agenda and recommendations

ISLAMABAD, Feb 22 (APP): Two-day D-8 conference on "Good Governance and Institutional Reforms in eight developing Muslim countries" concluded here Sunday with the joint agenda and recommendations to be presented at the next summit in Dhaka. The delegates of the conference stressed for the urgency of concerted efforts by the countries to carry out institutional and legal reforms to upgrade the quality of governance in their respective countries. President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar had inaugurated the conference on February 20. The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission chaired the concluding session. The delegates said D-8 countries should avail opportunities to face the challenges of globalization and highly competative environment. The delegates realized that D-8 countries should not only match their technologies and management of production in developing economies but also in the institutional norm and practices of governments. The governments should try to ensure equal opportunities to their peoples to enable them to contribute their best and improvement in the level of efficiencies, reflected in qualities and standard of services. The conference stressed underpinning the rule of law to facilitate speedy and effective adjudication of commercial and social rights. The governments should make transparency in the economic dispensation to support confidence of investors. Following are the major recommendations of the conference:

- Designate focal points for interchange of information on governance and related institional and legal reforms in their respective countries; - Designate one focal institution as D-8 resource centre for good governance and institutional reforms for coordination and cooperation in these related areas; - Develop a mechanism for coordination among planning organizations of D-8 countries; - Forster interaction among policy makers, experts and leaders of D-8 countries in these areas of good governance and institutional forms through periodic interaction. The conference recommended to share on priority areas including public service reforms, decentralization, law and order, simplification of rules and procedures, adoption of information technology and privatization.