PM to meet Gilani in Maldives tomorrow

Addu (Maldives): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the SAARC summit here on Thrusday when they are expected to review progress in bilateral ties against the backdrop of some positive developments witnessed lately.

The two leaders will meet tomorrow morning ahead of the inauguration of the two-day summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in the Addu atoll islands.

The meeting between Singh and Gilani comes after they met in March in Mohali on the margins of the Indo-Pak World Cup semi-final tie.

The rendezvous takes place in the backdrop of some recent positive developments witnessed in bilateral relations like Pakistan`s decision to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trade status to India and the release of an Indian helicopter that had strayed into Pakistani territory.

Earlier, there was speculation that the Singh-Gilani meeting would take place on Friday. The Foreign Secretaries of the two countries who are already in Maldives met yesterday to discuss bilateral issues and matters relating to the meeting between the Prime Ministers.

Foreign Secretaries Ranjan Mathai and Salman Bashir expressed satisfaction on the engagement process and agreed that "stable, normal and predictable" ties were in their interest as well as the region`s.

Singh and Gilani had held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the last SAARC summit in Thimphu in 2010.