Obama ‘disappointed’ at Pakistan’s blocking of FMCT talks: NYT

April 12th, 2010 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Manish Chand
Washington, April 12 (IANS) A day before the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit opens here, US President Barack Obama has “expressed disappointment” over Pakistan’s bid to block the opening of negotiations on a treaty to halt the production of new bomb-making material.

Quoting an unnamed senior American official, The New York Times said in its Monday edition that Obama used his private meeting Sunday afternoon with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to “express disappointment” over the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

The report also underlines the danger of nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists originating in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region and warns of an impending nuclear arms race in the subcontinent.

“Nowhere is that truer than Pakistan, where two Taliban insurgencies and Al Qaeda coexist with the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal,” says the NYT report by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad.

The report cites top US nuclear experts who have voiced fears about the region becoming a hub for nuclear terrorism.

“The challenges are getting greater - the increasing extremism, the increasing instability, the increasing material,” says Rolf Mowatt-Larssen of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a former C.I.A. officer and then head of the Energy Department’s intelligence unit that has scrutinized Al Qaeda’s nuclear ambitions.

“That’s going to complicate efforts to make sure nothing leaks,” he said.

“The trends mean the Pakistani authorities have a greater challenge.”

On the eve of the nuclear summit, the largest such gathering of world leaders organized by an American president since 1945, Obama Sunday described the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon “the single biggest threat to US security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term.”

Pakistan’s dubious proliferation record and activities of A.Q. Khan network, run by founder of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, had dominated media reports here ahead of the summit. But Obama has decided not to be country-specific at the summit and has set more doable targets of securing all loose nuclear bomb-making materials in the world in four years.

India backs ongoing efforts for negotiations on a universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty that would prohibit the future production of fissile material for weapons purposes but would permit such production for civilian uses.

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