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Pakistan's envoy cancels trip to New Delhi

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistani Foreign Minister, Khursheed Kasuri, has been personally visiting member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and formally inviting them to attend the 12th summit for the seven-nation association being held in Islamabad in January.

However, Mr. Kasuri has cancelled his plans to visit India’s Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in October after senior officials in India told the Pakistani ministry that the dates are known and that "there is no need to reinforce the invitation by a personal visit."

The trip would have been the highest-level visit between the two countries in more than two years.

Pakistan's foreign ministry responded formally in an official statement, stating that this gesture from India confirms the fear of all South Asian Association countries that India is not only uninterested in the regional association, but also that it has no intention of engaging Pakistan in a dialogue to settle their dispute over Kashmir.

Over the Kashmir conflict, India maintains that Pakistan is backing Muslim militants to cross the Line of Control, or the LOC, which divides the Indian and Pakistani controlled territories of Kashmir.

Pakistan denies the accusation of backing the Kashmiri separatists, saying that it provides only moral support.

The 13-year dispute between India and Pakistan nearly resulted in war between the two last year. The tension was averted after intense international diplomacy intervened.

While full diplomatic relations and cross-border transportation along the LOC has been restored since April, and an official dialogue between the two to settle the disputes has been expressed, New Delhi is resisting beginning any formal negotiations until it sees what it calls the Pakistan-supported terrorism terminated.

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