Pakistan rejects U.S. demand for talks on nuke programme freeze

| Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 13:49
First Published |
Pakistan, U.S. United States

Islamabad has long been resisting Washington's pressure to freeze its nuclear programme by agreeing to sign the FMCT

Islamabad: In recent talks between two countries on non-proliferation issues, Pakistan has turned down a U.S. demand to start negotiations on a treaty that bans production of fissile materials used in making nuclear weapons.
At a meeting of the Pakistan-U.S. Working Group on Security, Strategic Stability and Non-proliferation, the American delegation asked Islamabad to start negotiations on Fissile Material Treaty (FMT), reports a leading daily.
Islamabad has long been resisting Washington's pressure to freeze its nuclear programme by agreeing to sign the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) which aims at placing a ban on the production of fissile materials, including uranium and plutonium.
Pakistan in response underlined its preference for broader Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) that addresses the asymmetries in existing stocks adding its position would be determined by its national interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia, said a joint statement issued by the Foreign Office.
The eighth round of the working group, which is part of the strategic dialogue, was co-chaired by Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller.
Islamabad believes the treaty must include existing stocks otherwise the imbalance of power in the world would simply be enhanced.
According to reports, Pakistan reluctance to sign the treaty is also attributed to the discriminatory policies of the West on civilian nuclear cooperation.
However, rejecting talks on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in its current form and conditions, Islamabad assured Washington that it would not be the first in its region to resume nuclear testing.
It also expressed its support for the objectives of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The meeting between the two groups was held amid the backdrop of recent missile testing by India that, according to Pakistan, would disturb the strategic balance in South Asia.
Both sides also recognised their interest in strategic stability and discussed their respective concerns over nuclear and missile developments in South Asia, the Foreign Office's statement said.
Pakistan also expressed concerns on growing conventional imbalance, and reiterated its longstanding proposal for the Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR) in South Asia.
According to the statement, the US delegation recognised Islamabad's significant efforts to harmonise its strategic trade controls with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and other multilateral export control regimes.
Islamabad also expressed its confidence regarding its credentials to become full member of the export control regimes, particularly the NSG and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The statement said Pakistan stressed the need for access to peaceful uses of nuclear technology as a socio-economic imperative and indicated its interest in cooperation with the U.S. on peaceful applications of the nuclear science in areas such as health, agriculture and water.

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