`Nawaz Sharif, Manmohan meeting a move towards peace'

Islamabad, Sep 25 (IANS) A "potentially fruitful endeavour" for Pakistan may take place in the US when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets India's Premier Manmohan Singh, said a Pakistani daily which described it as a "move towards peace".

"A potentially fruitful endeavour for Pakistan may end up taking place on the sidelines of the General Assembly session...," said the News International in an editorial Wednesday.

"This will be an ideal opportunity for the two leaders to put behind them the LoC (Line of Control) fracas and move towards peace. This preliminary meeting obviously will not lead to any immediate deals or breakthroughs but could spur bilateral visits and agreements," the daily said.

"Should Nawaz Sharif return to Pakistan with better prospects for this, it will have made the New York trip worthwhile," it added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's six-day visit to New York for the opening session of the UN General Assembly comes at a time when world attention has once been focused on the country for the church attack in Peshawar.

The daily noted that when Nawaz Sharif addresses the session Sep 27, he "will be expected to speak forcefully on militancy and what Pakistan is doing to combat it".

"Back home, we are busy discussing whether negotiations should be pursued with the Taliban but the international community needs to be reassured that talks are only one possible method of reaching our ultimate goal of defanging the militants."

"Fears of terrorism linked to Al-Qaeda and other ideologically like-minded groups are at an all-time high after the hostage drama in Kenya. Pakistan has to demonstrate its commitment to no longer being a safe haven and training ground for militants," said the editorial.

The daily hoped that Nawaz Sharif "will speak out forcefully and not put up any kind of charade".

"We have seen too many of them in the past. What is needed now is honesty."

The prime minister has said that at the session he will be talking about Pakistan's foreign policy and regional issues among other matters.

"His words will be significant, given Pakistan's evolving relations with both India and Afghanistan."

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