Pakistan, India hold talks on Sir Creek
May 17, 2007 - 9:51:38 PM

Islamabad, May 17 - Officials from Pakistan and India Thursday began two-day talks to help resolve the long-standing dispute over the Sir Creek marshland that separates the countries at the Arabian Sea.

The consultations in the Pakistani garrison city Rawalpindi were held in a 'cordial and friendly atmosphere' as the sides presented their stances on the matter, a Pakistani Defence Ministry statement said.

The ministry's team was led by Additional Defence Secretary Rear Admiral Tanveer Faiz, while the Indian side was represented by Surveyor General Major General Gopal Rao.

The row over the 99-km stretch of marsh, which lies partly in Pakistan's Sindh province and partly in India's Gujarat state, dates back to 1947, when India and Pakistan became independent.

It remains one of a number of territorial disputes that have hampered reconciliation efforts between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

The latest consultations are part of the fourth round of peace talks initiated in 2004.

The two sides in January began a joint survey of the creek, demarcation of which would enable them to finalise their maritime boundaries.

Determination of the boundaries would in turn allow them to notify the limits of their maritime economic zones as demanded by the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, to which both Pakistan and India are signatories.

The convention requires that all maritime boundary conflicts should be resolved by 2009, failing which the United Nations may declare disputed areas as international waters.

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