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

New York
September 24, 2007

On Monday, September 24, the External Affairs Minister had bilateral meetings with several of his counterparts, including HE Dr Rangin Spanta, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan; HE Mr. Mourad Medelci, Foreign Minister of Algeria; HE Mr George Yeo, Foreign Minister of Singapore; H.E Mr. Felipe Perez Roque, Foreign Minister of Cuba; H.E Mr. Jan Kubis, Foreign Minister of Slovakia; HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates; HE Mr. Dmitrj Rupel, Foreign Minister of Slovenia and HE Mr. Maxime Bernier, Foreign Minister of Canada. 

Apart from these bilateral meetings, EAM met the Foreign Ministers of Russia, China and Brazil, as part of the (BRICs) initiative involving ministerial meetings of Brazil, Russia, India and China. During this meeting, the Ministers agreed that the four countries would gradually intensify cooperation in this format, beginning with closer consultations at the Ambassadorial-level, and moving on to the political level. Consultations would focus upon issues of mutual interest in the international system, in particular, issues relating to trade, development and the international financial system. 

EAM and the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan reviewed the excellent bilateral relationship, and the similarity of their views on the situation in Afghanistan. EAM underlined India’s firm commitment to assisting in Afghanistan’s reconstruction, focusing on infrastructure and capacity-building programmes, aimed at “Afghan-ization” of developments in Afghanistan. The leaders also agreed on the centrality of the security issue, noting that it posed a significant challenge to the efforts of the international community thus far. 

During the meeting between EAM and the Foreign Minister of Algeria, the two sides agreed on the need to expand bilateral cooperation, focusing in particular on the economic relationship. As representatives of nations that had suffered greatly from terrorism, there was a close similarity of views between the Ministers on threat posed to the two countries by this menace. In his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Singapore, EAM and his counterpart reviewed the strong bilateral ties between the two countries in the political, economic, trade, cultural, defence and scientific fields. The two Ministers expressed satisfaction at the close similarity of views in several areas of common interest. 

In his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Cuba, EAM sought and received a briefing on the health of President Fidel Castro. The two Ministers noted that the excellent bilateral relationship had developed over the years with contacts at the highest levels, and recalled in this regard the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called upon President Castro in September 2006, on the margins of the Summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana. The two leaders also reviewed developments in the NAM, in context of Cuba’s stewardship of the Movement. Following this meeting, EAM met the Foreign Minister of Slovakia. The two leaders agreed on the need build upon the commonalities in the bilateral relationship, predating Slovakia’s current political configuration, the determination of the new Government of Slovakia to build relations with the Asian states, such as India, and the strategic partnership between India and the European Union, of which Slovakia is a member. 

In the afternoon, in his meeting with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, EAM underscored the need for the historic relationship of close people to people and cultural ties needed to expand rapidly, in particular, in the economic dimension. EAM pointed out that in India’s rapidly-growing economy, there was considerable scope for investments from the UAE, in particular, in the expansion of India’s infrastructure. Following this meeting, the Foreign Minister of Slovenia welcomed India’s decision to open an Embassy in Ljubljana. He observed that the bilateral relationship had great potential for further development, in particular, in the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2008. In his last meeting of the day, EAM discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the problem of climate change with the Foreign Minister of Canada.