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Archive for Sunday, August 10, 2003

Pakistan, India plan peace conference

August 10, 2003

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— Political activists chanted peace slogans and tossed rose petals Saturday as a delegation of lawmakers from India arrived for a two-day conference aimed at easing long-standing tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors.

Pakistani and Indian lawmakers planned to encourage their governments to resume stalled peace talks and take further steps to improve relations between countries that have fought three wars.

"We are here to show our brothers and sisters in Pakistan that we are sincere in wanting peace," said Indian lawmaker Laloo Prasad Yadav.

Their arrival in the border city of Lahore came the same day that India formally restored full diplomatic ties with its neighbor by having its ambassador-designate to Pakistan present his credentials to Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

The delegation, which also included 26 journalists from India, planned to spend a couple of hours in Lahore before heading to the capital, Islamabad, where the conference will be held today and Monday.

"We are here to undo the bitterness between Pakistan and India," Yadav said. "No country can progress if it has a bad relationship with its neighbor."

During the conference, organized by Pakistani journalists, the delegates will discuss Kashmir, a divided Himalayan region that both India and Pakistan claim in its entirety.

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