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Pakistan blocking FMCT negotiations: US

The United States accused Pakistan of withholding consensus to begin negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.

Washington: The United States on Thursday accused Pakistan of withholding consensus to begin negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), said to be the key step in the arms control treaty arena.

"Beginning multilateral negotiations on the FMCT is a priority objective for the United States and for the vast majority of states, and we have been working to initiate such negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva," said Rose Gottemoeller, the Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

"But one country, Pakistan, is withholding the consensus to begin negotiations. We regret this deadlock. We are endeavouring to use all available opportunities on the margins of the CD (conference on disarmament) to advance FMCT negotiations, including serious and unique consultations among the states that will be directly affected by the FMCT, the key stakeholders, as we call them," Gottemoeller said.

The FMCT would complement US-Russian bilateral reductions and is clearly the next multilateral step to take in the arms control treaty arena, she noted while speaking at the Fifth Annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit in Arlington, Virginia.

Outside of FMCT, a more long-term goal is multilateral negotiations on disarmament, she said.

Gottemoeller said consistent with the US Senate`s stipulation in the resolution of ratification of New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), United States is seeking to initiate discussions with Russia to address the disparity between non-strategic nuclear weapons stockpiles in Russia and the United States.

As part of this process, the administration is consulting with allies in Europe to lay the groundwork for future negotiations.

NATO has already dramatically reduced its holdings of and reliance on nuclear weapons, she said.

The Obama Administration, she said, continues to believe that the next step in nuclear arms reduction should be pursued on a bilateral basis since the United States and Russian Federation still possess the vast majority of nuclear weapons in the world.


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