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Islamabad will never proliferate: Kasuri

April 27, 2006

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BERLIN, April 26: Pakistan has never proliferated and it will never do so as robust legislative and administrative structures are in place to discourage its occurrence from its territory, says Foreign Minister Khurshid M. Kasuri.

He was addressing members of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) on ‘Pakistan’s role for peace and stability in Asia’.

Mr Kasuri said Pakistan had formally established the National Command Authority (NCA) in 2000, which was responsible for policy formulation, adding that it exercised control over employment and deployment of strategic nuclear forces and strategic organisations.

He said that Pakistan was not responsible for nuclear proliferation in South Asia, adding that it had been forced to respond in May 1998 to ensure a credible deterrence.

He said Pakistan believed that the recent US-India agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation would have serious implications for security environment in South Asia.

He said a package approach would have better served the objective of strategic stability and met the legitimate energy requirements of both the countries.

He said conflicts, poverty, hunger and disease continued to undermine efforts towards peace and prosperity in the region. He said, “We are also confronted by the scourge of terrorism.”

Mr Kasuri said Pakistan had been pursuing the path of peace and stability in its region. “We have done so through dialogue for peaceful settlement of disputes, exercise of strategic restraint and strengthening of regional cooperation.”

He said Pakistan was the only country that was a member of both the ECO and Saarc, and had an observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation besides being a leading OIC member.

He said Pakistan attached a high priority to promotion of relations with neighbouring countries on the basis of sovereign equality, non-interference in internal affairs of other countries and peaceful resolution of disputes.

He said the cardinal objective of Pakistan’s leadership had been the peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes with India, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Kasuri said President Pervez Musharraf has shown the way by suggesting a flexible approach for resolution of all disputes including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Referring to the composite dialogue between Pakistan and India, he said that two rounds had been completed and the third round had been initiated on Jan 17.

The minister said: “Pakistan values good friendly relations with Afghanistan.”

On Iran’s nuclear issue, he said Pakistan had clearly stated its support to a negotiated solution of the issue.

He said: “We respect Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards.”

He said Pakistan was opposed the use of force, which would aggravate the already troubled situation in the region.

He said Pakistan had close cooperation and comprehensive partnership in political, economic and defence fields with China.

He said Pakistan and China were strategic partners for maintenance of peace and stability in the region.

Mr Kasuri said Pakistan’s ties with the United States had shown considerable resilience and since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, they were on an upward trajectory.

The minister said Pakistan had traditionally enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations with the EU.

Referring to the problem of terrorism, he said it threatened the entire international community. He said Pakistan had long been its victim and opposed terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

He said the Palestinian problem continued to pose a threat to international peace and security. It remained a source of extremism and terrorism.

Mr Kasuri said Pakistan believed that a lasting solution to the problem of terrorism required addressing its root causes or at least the atmosphere that enabled extremists to thrive.

He also dwelt upon the ties between Pakistan and Germany and thanked the German government and people for extending support after the earthquake struck Pakistan’s northern areas last year.—APP