US rebuffs Pak on civil nuke issue

US rebuffs Pak on civil nuke issue

"We're not in any discussions with the Pakistanis on civil nuclear cooperation," Frank Ruggiero, US Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told reporters yesterday on the eve of the third round of Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is in the US for the Strategic dialogue, again sought a civil nuclear agreement with America akin to the US-India nuclear deal, during a speech at the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School in Boston yesterday.

"We certainly seek that because we feel that there should be no discrimination," Qureshi said when asked if Pakistan wanted civil nuclear agreements like those signed by India with the US and other countries.

Ruggiero said that besides the flood relief operations and developmental issues, the continued existence of terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan and the apparent reluctance of Islamabad to take the terrorists head-on would be among the major topics of discussions during the Strategic Dialogue that would be spread over three days.

The Pakistani delegation to the dialogue is led by Qureshi and also includes the country's powerful army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The American delegation is headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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