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Don’t make Hurriyat a third party: Sushma tells Pak

New Delhi, Aug 22 : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday asked Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz not to make Hurriyat a third party in the NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan.

“As per the Simla Agreement, signed between India and Pakistan, whenever a dialogue will take place between the two nations, only India and Pakistan will be present,” Swaraj told the media here.

“Keeping the Simla Agreement’s spirit in mind, I am asking you Sartaj Aziz to not to make Hurriyat or any other person a third party. Keeping the Ufa agreement’s spirit in mind, don’t take the topic beyond terrorism,” she added.

She further said that all the outstanding issues will only be solved after the issues of terrorism and violence end.

Referring to the meeting between the two prime ministers and later with the respective delegations in Ufa, Russia, on the sidelines of the SCO summit last month, Swaraj, “It was agreed by both sides that there would be three meetings. The first meeting was to be between the directors general of the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers (PR). The second meeting was to be between the Directors General of Military Operations of the two countries on the issue of ceasefire violations, and the third meeting, was to be between the national security advisors of the two countries on the issue of terror.”

The press conference is taking place a day after India and Pakistan sparred through verbal and written statements over Islamabad’s determination and intention to meet with separatist leaders from Kashmir ahead of the proposed August 23 and 24 NSA talks.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that its High Commissioner’s invitation to the Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership on August 23 was very much in keeping with the practice and tradition of the past many years.

While India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) sent across a strong message to Pakistan, insisting that there are only two stakeholders in the talks between India and Pakistan and added that New Delhi is committed to discuss the issues peacefully and bilaterally.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz for the talks in the national capital on Monday.

Swaraj also asked Pakistan to reveal its stand by tonight on whether it would be coming for the NSA talks or not.

Responding to a question that India wants an assurance from Pakistan that it should not involve a third party and talk only on terrorism, Swaraj said that they should give their reply by tonight.

The External Affairs Minister further said that talks should only be on terror and nothing else. (ANI)