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US keeping close watch on Pak`s nuke programme: Hillary

Last Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 12:38

Washington: The US is watching very closely the security threat posed to Pakistan`s nuclear arsenal by militants as also the proliferation threat from those directly engaged in Islamabad`s weapons programme, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
But Washington does not think recent militant attacks in Pakistan including the one on its military headquarters "pose a threat to the nuclear command and control or access," she said in an address on non-proliferation issues at the US Institute of Peace think tank Wednesday.

"But we have certainly made our views known and asked a lot of questions and are supporting the Pakistani Government in their courageous efforts against these extremists, which, to us, is one of the most important steps they can take," Clinton said.

Underling Obama administration`s concerns about the safety of Pakistan`s nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation through the notorious A Q Khan network, she said, "those two concerns are part of each and every engagement that we have."

"We have been reassured about the security of the nuclear weapons stockpiles and facilities," Clinton said. "But it is obviously a matter that we are watching very closely" for these very reasons.

On the continuing threat of proliferation, she said: "we watch and try to monitor any signs of, and the Pakistani Government and military know of our continuing questions about that."

"And of course, the militant attack that we saw last week and the continuing organised attacks on government targets, including the military itself and the intelligence services by Taliban, Al Qaeda, and related extremists," Clinton added.

Asked about the adverse reaction in Pakistan to the US legislation tripling non-military aid to Islamabad to $1.5 billion annually for five years, the top US diplomat said: "It is unfortunate that there is a lot of mistrust that has built up with respect to the United States."

"And I think we saw that in some of the reaction on the Kerry-Lugar legislation, which we`d been working on and consulting with the Government of Pakistan for many, many months. And the ultimate passage of it we saw as a great milestone in our relationship, and we were very concerned when the reaction was so volatile and negative."

" But we`re going to remedy that," Clinton said by getting out information that can be used to underline "that the United States is hoping to be a good partner for not just the Government of Pakistan, but more importantly, the people of Pakistan."

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 12:38

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