Pakistan satisfied with US nuclear talks
WASHINGTON: Pakistan's foreign minister said on Thursday his delegation had “very satisfactory” talks with Washington on civilian nuclear cooperation and that the case of a Pakistani scientist was “behind us.”
Pakistan is pressing for a nuclear cooperation arrangement similar to one its key rival India has with the United States but Washington has so far been reluctant to enter into any formal talks on the issue.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Reuters in an interview that meetings with US officials on nuclear cooperation, nonproliferation and export controls had gone well.
“I am quite satisfied with the discussions we had,” Qureshi said when asked about the nuclear cooperation issue. “I would not like to expand on it at this stage.”
He added that “the talks were very satisfactory” but declined to specify the kind of cooperation Pakistan sought.
The two days of high-level talks in Washington were aimed at boosting ties between the often uneasy allies as the United States relies on cooperation from Pakistan in its fight against Taliban and al Qaeda militants in Afghanistan.
Washington has been dubious about talks on sharing nuclear technology, partly because of fears it would upset India but also due to concerns over the case a Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
“I think that is behind us,” Qureshi said when asked about the Khan case. “I think they understand the new command-control structures we have in place. I think they are pretty satisfied with security and safety systems in place in Pakistan and there is recognition of that.”
Just days before the “strategic dialogue” talks in Washington, Pakistan's government filed a court petition to investigate the Khan case.
Asked whether his country wanted the same kind of nuclear deal that Washington has with India, Qureshi said: “I am against discrimination.”
Pakistan faces daily blackouts and the power shortage has weighed heavily on the economy as well as public patience.
Qureshi said his country was looking at a multi-pronged approach to the energy crisis and that included boosting the current small capacity for nuclear power.
“We have to modernize and tap on indigenous resources like hydro, coal. We have to bring in renewables — solar, wind — and we also have the capability of producing nuclear energy and we are doing it.”. — Reuters