Sushma, Aziz meeting fixed for Thursday evening

Pokhara, March 16 (IANS) The most anticipated meeting between India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Sartaj Aziz, foreign relations adviser to the Pakistani prime minister, has been fixed for Thursday evening, Indian and Nepali diplomats said on Wednesday.

The two leaders arrived in Pokhara on Wednesday to attend the 37th meeting of the Saarc Council of Ministers.

The positive tone for the meeting was set on Tuesday during the dinner hosted by Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi where the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries rubbed shoulders and held informal talks, said officials privy to the dinner.

The prospect of the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Aziz grew further after they met during a reception hosted by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa on Wednesday evening.

“What I can confirm is that the meeting between Sushma and Aziz has been fixed in Hotel Grand on Thursday evening,” said one Indian diplomat.

That meeting would take place once the ministerial meeting is over, he added.

After the ministerial meeting, the visiting foreign ministers and senior officials will leave for sightseeing. They will then return to the hotel and sit for talks.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at girianil@gmail.com)

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