Islamabad will give up nukes, if India does too, says Pakistani diplomat

May 23rd, 2009 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 23 (IANS) Stating that Pakistan’s nuclear weapon is a “deterrent” against India, the country’s top diplomat to the US Saturday expressed willingness to enter into an agreement with New Delhi to phase out all nuclear arms possessed by the two countries.
Appearing on US television to make a public appeal to donate aid for the displaced people in the Swat valley, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Hussein Haqqani insisted that the nuclear weapons of his country are safe and there should be no concern about their security.

“Everybody in the US government who knows anything about nuclear weapons knows that Pakistan has a very secure nuclear programme. It’s a very limited nuclear programme to maintain deterrence vis-a-vis our neighbour,” Geo TV quoted Haqqani as saying.

“At the same time, Pakistan is willing to engage with our neighbour for a comprehensive settlement in which the nuclear weapons can be phased out by both countries,” he said.

“Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are safe and Islamabad is not going to expand nuclear weapons capability to a point when it becomes a threat to any country in the world, including our neighbours,” he said, urging the US media not to divert attention from the real issue (minimum deterrence) by raising the question of safety of nuclear weapons of Pakistan.

Haqqani said the US should not be concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons as this is not a threat to the US.

“I don’t think Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are a threat to the US. I think the threat to the US right now comes from terrorists that might be in Afghanistan or in parts of Pakistan. And Pakistan is doing a great job fighting those terrorists right now,” he said.

The Pakistani ambassador said his country is unlikely to give specific details of its nuclear weapons to the US, despite the fact that it has assured top US leaders that its atomic weapons are secure and there is no need to be concerned about it.

“I don’t think any country knows or tells the location of all its nuclear weapons to any (other) country in the world,” he said.

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