Saturday December 16, 2017
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Pakistan urges US to play role in resolving Kashmir dispute

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Islamabad: Pakistan has urged the US to play its role to ensure strategic stability in South Asia and in resolving the Kashmir issue.

During Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US, we will talk about the tension with India on the Line of Control (LoC), Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told the reporters in Washington on Monday.

Pakistan wants to have good and peaceful ties with its neighbours, including India, and Sharif went to New Delhi for this purpose, but no positive response was received from Indian side, Radio Pakistan quoted Chaudhry as saying.

He said Pakistan’s nuclear programme “is aimed at deterring any aggression and we will never compromise our national security interests”.

He categorically ruled out possibility of any “deal” with the US on nuclear programme.

Pakistan and the US have multi-dimensional ties and their cooperation in trade, energy, defence, counter-terrorism and education is on the rise, Chaudhry said.

(IANS)

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Pakistan denies discussing nuclear deal with US

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Islamabad: Pakistan has denied a White House claim that it was working with the US towards a pact that would limit Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal, the media reported on Monday.

“No deal is being discussed between the two countries. Nor has the US made any demand on Pakistan,” foreign office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said here.

“History is a testimony to the fact that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepts no demand from any state,” The Nation newspaper quoted him as saying.

The statement said the prime minister firmly believed in policies directed at preserving, protecting and promoting Pakistan’s national interests, the media reports said.

Sharif, who was to leave for the US on Sunday night, delayed his travel to receive briefing from the head of the ISI intelligence agency who returned from the US the same night.

Sharif’s key aides, Sartaj Aziz and Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, are already in Washington, meeting US officials on issues of bilateral interest and regional importance.

White House officials said on Thursday they have started talks that could ultimately govern the scale of Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal.

Such a deal, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, was based on US concerns that Pakistan could be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon – very similar to those placed in Europe by the US during the Cold War to deter Soviet Union.

“There has been a lot of public speculation about this,” Earnest said.

“At this point, the US has been engaged with Pakistan, as well as the rest of the international community, on issues related to nuclear safety and security.”

Earnest, however, added that the current climate of discussions between Washington and Islamabad were not at a level where officials might expect a deal to be reached by the time Sharif reaches the US on October 22.

Pakistani official sources were quoted as saying that Sharif would reach Washington on Tuesday after a night halt in London.

Before leaving Islamabad, Sharif said Pakistan was “a responsible sovereign nuclear state” and that “its strategic assets are secured under a foolproof arrangement”.

(IANS)

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Obama, Sharif to talk nukes, but no nuclear deal

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Washington: Amid reports that the US is exploring a deal to limit Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, White House acknowledged that President Barack Obama will discuss nuclear safety and security with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

But a civil nuclear deal like the one with India is unlikely “to come to fruition” when Sharif comes calling to meet Obama next week, his Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters here Thursday.

“I would not be overly excited about the prospects of reaching the kind of agreement that is being speculated about publicly,” he said when asked if the US is in fact serious about trying to work out a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan.

“The expectation that we have is that a deal like the one that’s been discussed publicly is not something that’s likely to come to fruition next week,” Earnest said when pressed about whether Obama and Sharif would talk about it.

“But the United States and Pakistan are regularly engaged in a dialogue about the importance of nuclear security,” he said. “And I would anticipate that dialogue would include conversations between the leaders of our two countries.”

“At this point, the United States has been engaged with Pakistan, as well as the rest of the international community on issues related to nuclear safety and security,” Earnest said.

The spokesman said the US continued “to have confidence that the government of Pakistan is well aware of the range of potential threats to its nuclear arsenal.”

“We continue to be confident that Pakistan has a professional and dedicated security force that understands the importance and the high priority that the world places on nuclear security,” Earnest added.

Earlier, the New York Times reported Thursday that the Obama administration is exploring a deal to limit the scope of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, but Islamabad was not ready to curb a programme that it regards as its only real defence against India.

The talks being held ahead of Sharif’s arrival “focus on American concern that Pakistan might be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon that would be far harder to secure than the country’s arsenal of larger weapons,” it said.

The discussions, they said, are being led by Peter R Lavoy, a longtime intelligence expert on the Pakistani programme who is now on the staff of the National Security Council.

The central element of the proposal, according to officials and outside experts cited by the Times, would be a relaxation of the strict controls imposed on Pakistan by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The Times said Pakistani officials have demanded an India-like nuclear deal that splits India’s nuclear infrastructure into a civilian programme that is under international inspection, and a military programme that is not.

“That does not appear to be on the table,” it said. “Instead, the United States is exploring ways to relax restrictions on nuclear-related technology to Pakistan, perhaps with a long-term goal of allowing the country to join the NSG.”

David Ignatius, a columnist for The Washington Post, first disclosed the exploratory talks in a column last week.

In a sharp reaction to the report, India then said Islamabad’s track record on proliferation should be taken into account in reaching a nuclear deal with Pakistan.

“All I would say is whosoever is examining that particular dossier should be well aware of Pakistan’s track record in the area of proliferation,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup then said.

(By Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Consider Pakistan’s proliferation record before any deal: India

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www.gbtimes.com

NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: India, reacting to the news of US exploring a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan, said on Thursday that Islamabad’s track record on proliferation should be taken into account before making any such move.

Answering queries on the issue, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India has seen such reports and these have not appeared for the first time.

“All I would say is whosoever is examining that particular dossier should be well aware of Pakistan’s track record in the area of proliferation,” Swarup said.

He claimed that India got the civil nuclear deal on the basis of its own impeccable non-proliferation track record.

That is the reason the US gave us the 123 agreement in 2005 and that is why India got an NSG waiver in 2008. Pakistan’s track record is completely different, Swarup said.

There have been concerns in the West about nuclear proliferation activities linked to Pakistani scientist AQ Khan.

Reports said the Barack Obama administration was considering a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington later this month.

Asked about India proposing a National Security Adviser (NSA)-level meeting between Indian and Pakistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meetings last month and the idea being abandoned due to Islamabad’s insistence on meeting of the two foreign ministers, Swarup said there was an issue of sequencing.

He said India was committed to the understanding reached between India and Pakistan in the Russian city of Ufa in July.

He said the Ufa understanding was very clear that two NSAs have to meet to discuss all issues connected to terrorism and the DGMOs and chiefs of border guarding forces have to meet to sort out issues related to firing on border.

“We have told that we are ready for a NSA-level dialogue. Last time Pakistan walked out of it. But we remain committed to Ufa understanding that if Pakistan is willing to have a dialogue of two NSAs on all issues connected to terrorism, we are all for it,” Swarup said. He said the foreign ministers meeting was not part of the agenda agreed in Ufa.

(With inputs from IANS)