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On the bilateral meetings of External affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee in New York

New York
September 28, 2007

On Friday, September 28, the External Affairs Minister participated in a Ministerial meeting of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue. Thereafter, he attended a Ministerial meeting of the Coordination Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement. EAM separately held bilateral meetings with H.E Mr. Mohammed Benaissa, Foreign Minister of Morocco; H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheith, Foreign Minister of Egypt; H. E Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Foreign Minister of France and H.E Mr. Miguel Angel de Moratinos, Foreign Minister of Spain. EAM also called upon H.E Mr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius.

The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea convened a Ministerial meeting of the 28-member Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). The Ministers discussed the regional situation in the Asian continent, and reviewed ongoing cooperative endeavours within the group. The Ministers discussed substantive ideas to begin a cultural dialogue within the ACD. The group noted the offer of the Government of Kazakhstan to host the next Ministerial meeting of the ACD in Astana in October 2008.

The meeting of the Coordination Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement focused on an interactive discussion on “Concrete Measures to Strengthen the Capacity for Action of NAM”. Members reviewed progress since the Havana Summit in September 2006. In his intervention, EAM underlined India’s abiding commitment to the Movement, and the enduring relevance of the NAM in the current international context. He also pointed out that the strength of the Movement has historically been its inclusiveness, which enabled it to take into account the diverse interests of the 118-member group.

The meeting between EAM and his Moroccan counterpart was conducted in a warm and cordial atmosphere. The two leaders appreciated the fact that regular high-level bilateral interactions, and the growing bilateral economic relationship, were important indicators of a rapidly-developing relationship. In his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Egypt, EAM and his counterpart agreed to increase the frequency of high-level interaction. Both leaders noted the rapid development of economic relations and bilateral trade, but agreed that the existing potential was yet to be realized. The two Ministers agreed to consider expanding cooperation into new areas, such as the development of renewable sources of energy. They also exchanged views on the situation in West Asia. In his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Spain, EAM and his counterpart expressed interest in developing bilateral cooperation further, in particular, in the context of the threat posed to both India and Spain from international terrorism.

During EAM’s call on the Prime Minister of Mauritius, the two sides reviewed the close bilateral relationship between the two countries. EAM thanked the Prime Minister of Mauritius for his strong support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council, in his statement to the UN General Assembly earlier today. The leaders agreed on the need to task their officials to further intensify the extensive bilateral economic relationship.

During his meeting with the Foreign Minister of France, EAM extended his congratulations to France upon the confirmation of Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn as Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund. The two leaders reviewed bilateral cooperation between the two countries, including in the defence, energy, science and technology and political spheres, and expressed the intention to work together to increase bilateral cooperation. The two Ministers also reviewed the international situation, discussing issues of mutual interest.