Pakistan on Tuesday told the US that it has the credentials to become the full member of the nuclear materials export control regimes, including the NSG, as the two nations discussed their respective concerns over nuclear and missile developments in South Asia.
The two sides held the 8th round of Pakistan-US working group on Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation (SSS&NP), which is part of the bilateral Strategic Dialogue. Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller co-chaired the meeting held here.
According to the joint statement, the delegations had a productive exchange of views on issues of mutual importance, including strategic export control regimes, nonproliferation, and regional stability and security.
The US delegation recognised Pakistan’s significant efforts to harmonise its strategic trade controls with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and other multilateral export control regimes as “both sides agreed on the value of Pakistan’s continued engagement, outreach and integration into the international non-proliferation regime”.
“The Pakistan delegation expressed its confidence regarding Pakistan’s credentials to become full member of the export control regimes, particularly the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR),” it said. Pakistan’s assertion came a day after China harped on the need for consensus in the 48-member NSG, where it is reportedly, pushing for Pakistan’s entry despite US’ strong backing for India to join the elite body.
The joint statement also stated that both sides committed to continue cooperation related to export control capacity-building under the US Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) programme. “Pakistan stressed the need for access to peaceful uses of nuclear technology as a socio-economic imperative. Pakistan also indicated its interest in cooperation with the US on peaceful applications of Nuclear Science in areas such as health, agriculture and water,” it said.
The US underscored the need to commence negotiations on a treaty dealing with fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons. Pakistan underlined its preference for a broader Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) that addresses the asymmetries in existing stocks and highlighted that its position will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia.
Both sides recognised their interest in strategic stability and discussed their respective concerns over nuclear and missile developments in South Asia. “In that context, Pakistan also expressed concerns on the growing conventional imbalance and reiterated its longstanding proposal for Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR) in South Asia and its readiness to pursue measures in the region aimed at building confidence and avoidance of arms race,” the statement said.
The two sides also emphasised the importance of meaningful dialogue and progress in this area and expressed the hope for lasting peace in South Asia and the resolution of outstanding disputes through peaceful means. The US expressed its interest in exploring such nuclear science cooperation with Pakistan. The delegations reaffirmed the high importance that both countries attach to preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery to states as well as non-state actors.
In this regard they noted that both have consistently supported and implemented United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. Both delegations agreed to remain engaged in discussions on an objective Comprehensive Review of the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, scheduled later this year.
The United States underscored its continued efforts to realise the agenda set forth in President Barack Obama’s 2009 Prague speech, while both sides noted the high priority that arms control has for the international community. The US also outlined its nuclear stockpile reductions, explained its efforts to seek congressional approval to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and reaffirmed its commitment not to conduct further nuclear test explosions.
Pakistan reaffirmed its consistent stance that it will not be the first in its region to resume nuclear testing and expressed its support for the objectives of CTBT which it has manifested through support for CTBT-related resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly. They also underscored the importance of preventing the risk of global nuclear terrorism and reaffirm their participation in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).
The delegations also discussed issues related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and committed to continue such consultations. The delegations also emphasised their shared desire for a successful BWC Review Conference in November and agreed to continue working together to that end.
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