Personal meeting between Indian and Pakistani leaders a matter of the future

Russian President Vladimir Putin "did not aim to bring together Pakistan's president and India's prime minister at Almaty, he said. He was speaking at a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who arrived in Moscow.

What is more, the Russian president said, during consultations with partners many voiced the view that such a meeting between the Indian and Pakistani leaders could be even premature, since "the domestic political situation in these countries is such that it /a meeting/ could lead to a disbalance of political forces and be counter-productive." "Some of the western partners who are engrossed in this problem also warned against doing that," Putin said.

But, most important of all, the head of state believes, is that the Pakistani president and the Indian prime minister visited Almaty, sat round one table and signed two documents, which recorded the principle of resolving conflicts without resort to force. "This is a good step to meet each other halfway," Putin said.

Besides, he pointed out, during his separate meetings with the Pakistani and Indian leaders each side "gave a signal which cannot be seen otherwise than as a positive and hopeful one".

Kofi Annan, in his turn, emphasised that he "praises the efforts taken by Vladimir Putin at Almaty". At the same time he thinks that the Indian and Pakistani leaders "failed to take advantage of the favourable chance to settle the conflict".

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