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British minister discusses Kashmir issue with Benazir

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    British minister discusses Kashmir issue with Benazir

    British minister discusses Kashmir issue with Benazir



    LONDON, July 21: Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Tuesday held an hour-long meeting with British Minister of State for
    Foreign Office Mr Geoff Hoon to discuss the latest situation in Kashmir and to give her assessment of the situation, sources told
    Dawn.
    "We confirm that Benazir Bhutto has a meeting with Geoff Hoon and they discussed the Anglo-Pak relations and crises in Kashmir
    in particular reference to Kargil," a Foreign Office spokesman said.
    The meeting came a day before when the House of Commons discussed an adjournment motion on Kashmir and hours before Benazir Bhutto made a policy statement on her party's position on Kashmir issue at a reception in the House of Lords yesterday evening.
    Earlier on Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook answered a volley of questions raised by MPs in the House of Commons
    on the Kashmir issue where he for the first time agreed that observance on the Line of Control needed to be strengthened.
    Political analysts believe that Benazir Bhutto's meeting with the British foreign office minister was important in the background of all these developments that were taking place in Britain.
    The British foreign secretary is also scheduled to meet Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz next week at a lunch to discuss the Kashmir situation.
    It is understood that Britain is playing the role of an intermediary between India and Pakistan behind the scenes.
    Ms Bhutto, the source said, also called upon Britain to play a role in helping the two countries in starting a dialogue.
    "She also thanked Prime Minister Tony Blair for telephoning the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers when the tension was at its
    height in Kargil and for urging them to initiate dialogue and resolve their differences through talks," one source said.



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