`Pak, US headed for showdown over N-arms`

Last Updated: Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 10:36

Islamabad: The US and Pakistan are heading
towards a confrontation as the Obama administration is
preparing to pursue Islamabad to halt the production of
nuclear bomb materials by forcing it to sign the Fissile
Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT), a media report said on Friday.

US plans to launch an open move with support from other
powers to force Pakistan to sign the treaty and halt the
production of nuclear bombs material.

Recent reports in the US media suggest that the UN
General Assembly in New York next month will be the venue for
this new push, a move that could aggravate tensions with
Pakistan.

The US has the support of four declared nuclear powers
for its move, Dawn newspaper reported.

The US media reported that the Obama administration had
won China`s support for finalising the FMCT. At a recent
conference in Paris, Russia, France and Britain "all declared
nuclear powers like China" also supported the US plan.

It is, however, not clear if China would back the move to
cap Pakistan`s nuclear capability.

The US and its allies are seeking an agreement by
September and then go to the UN General Assembly with a joint
plan for starting talks on the FMCT.

So far Pakistan has successfully resisted all
international pressure to endorse the FMCT, warning that it
would boycott any process to negotiate a US-backed treaty
outside the deadlocked UN Conference on Disarmament (UNCD).

The Geneva-based UNCD is the sole negotiating forum for
multilateral disarmament but the treaty has been stalled in
the conference for 12 years, with Pakistan as the sole holdout
against negotiations.

The US move aims at creating a new forum where it can
persuade Pakistan to sign the FMCT.

"Our preference is to negotiate an FMCT within the
Conference on Disarmament, but that body has been deadlocked
by Pakistan," US Under-secretary of State Ellen Tauscher told
a seminar on July 28 in Lafayette, California.

"Thus the US is joining with other key countries to start
preparations for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty elsewhere
until the conference can get down to work," she said.

Pakistan`s acting representative to the UN, Raza Bashir
Tarar, last week told a General Assembly meeting in New York
that his country "will not join any such process nor would it
consider accession to the outcome of any such process."

To deal with increasing international pressure to stop
the production of fissile material, Pakistan tried
unsuccessfully to enter into a nuclear agreement with the US
similar to the one Washington has signed with India.

PTI



First Published: Friday, August 5, 2011 - 11:40

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