Friday, October 1, 2010

Pakistan hails US nuclear summit

Pakistan on Saturday hailed a nuclear security summit convened by US President Barack Obama saying it would help efforts on nuclear disarmament.
Obama's nuclear security summit next week will target the "gravest danger to America" -- plutonium and uranium stocks which extremists could use for full-scale nuclear bombs, officials said Friday.
The 47-nation-summit will seek national commitments to secure all nuclear materials within four years and is the biggest such gathering outside the UN on US soil since the 1945 San Francisco summit on forming the United Nations.
"I think it is a positive step in the right direction and Pakistan with other non-aligned countries has always been pursuing the long-term objective of nuclear disarmament," foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told a briefing. "We hope that it is a step forward to achieve that objective and we welcome that."
Meanwhile Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan's nuclear weapons were safe as he left for the United States to attend the summit.
"I assure the world, I assure the people of Pakistan that the nuclear capability, the nuclear programme is in safe hands," the Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Gilani as saying.
"The nuclear programme is in experienced hands and we have experience of over 30 years," said Gilani, who is also the chairman of the South Asian country's civil-military Nuclear Command Authority. The United States has longstanding concerns about proliferation from Pakistan.
Policymakers are said to have quietly drafted a crisis plan in case the nuclear arsenal risk falling out of the control of the government, which is fighting an insurgency by Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants in the north west of the country
Gilani is meeting Obama on Sunday, Basit said.
"We hope that this meeting between our prime minister and the president of the US will help accelerate the momentum of relations which was generated in Washington," he said.
The two nations last month wrapped up a first-of-a-kind "strategic dialogue," which the United States hopes will show Pakistan's widely anti-American public that it cares about the country beyond seeking help against Islamic extremists.

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