Pak has no reason to fear from FMCT negotiations: US



Washington: Pakistan, which has blocked the negotiations on Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, has no reason to fear from this, a top Obama administration official has said, adding that it will continue to work with Islamabad for the start of the FMCT negotiation.

"As for the FMCT, everyone knows that there is one unwilling partner. We are going to keep working to persuade Pakistan that it has no reason to fear the start of talks," Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher said in her on strengthening the international framework to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons.

"We believe any FMCT negotiations will be a multi-year process and the consensus-based rules of the Conference on Disarmament ensure that every state has every opportunity to protect its sovereign national interests," Tauscher said.

Tauscher said as of now she has no idea when the Obama administration would bring before the Senate the CTBT for ratification.

"To get there, we have a lot of work to do because nuclear testing is not a front-burner issue in the minds of most Americans. One reason is because we have not tested since 1992," she said.

"To understand the gap in public awareness, just think that in 1961 thousands of housewives and mothers symbolically walked off their jobs to protest the arms race and nuclear testing," Tauscher said.

"That same public level of concern about nuclear testing does not exist today, but it certainly does not mean that the issue is any less important," she said.

"It is up to us to educate the public and the Senate on the significant advances in both stockpile stewardship and our ability to monitor explosions. You will see us doing that in the coming months," she said.

"The science, the ability to detect cheating and the absence of the need to test, make a compelling case for the CTBT. Ratifying the CTBT would bolster our credibility as we work to stop others from developing nuclear weapons and testing them," she said.

Tauscher said the US is committed to seeking deeper nuclear reductions with Russia, including in strategic, non-strategic, and non-deployed weapons.

"We can ban nuclear testing and we can prohibit the production of more fissile material for nuclear weapons. There has been enough nuclear testing in the past and the world has all the fissile material for weapons that it needs," she said.

Iran, she said, has not been able to convince the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful.

While the door remains open to negotiations with Iran, the US will not settle for empty diplomacy and talks meant only to delay and avoid responsibilities, she said.

"The Obama administration will continue to work to reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons worldwide while ensuring that our nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, and effective so long as nuclear weapons exist.We can do both reductions and modernisation of the complex," Tauscher said.

PTI