US experts urge Washington to secure Pak nuke assets

November 14th, 2007 - 10:37 am ICT by admin  

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer “that he would urge the US to continue to back Musharraf, as he was presently in a difficult spot.

Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile may be technically secure, but the issue isn’t whether the weapons are locked away. “It’s a political issue.”

“If the military comes unstuck, if it divides, then the technical fixes won’t protect those weapons,” he warned.

Bolton urged Washington to consider whether Pakistan is being ruled democratically.

“I’d have to put securing those weapons at the top of our agenda,” he said.

Richard Holbrooke, another envoy the United Nations told CNN, “Everyone should be concerned about this arsenal … This is an extraordinarily volatile situation. We don’t want to see Pakistan, with its bombs, fall into the hands of people like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and the mullahs.”

Senator Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, said he considered the matter important, but less pressing.

“I’m very concerned about it — not immediately, but over the next year to two years,” Biden said.

“They have 24 to 55 [nuclear] weapons. They have not only the bomb, the thermonuclear device, they have the missile that can couple with the bomb, and it can fly all the way to the Mediterranean.”

However, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are secure, and cautioned against overreacting.

“That nuclear arsenal is, one, dispersed, and second, carefully guarded by the army,” he said.

“I think — in the short or even medium term — should things turn badly, we are not going to worry about nuclear weapons in the first instance,” he added. (ANI)

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