Focus is on other means which satisfy Pak energy needs: US

"Our focus right now is to focus on other means through which to satisfy Pakistan's energy needs," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley told reporters. He was replying to a question as to why the US is reluctant to provide civilian nuclear energy to Pakistan to address the problem of acute energy shortage. "It did come up during the course of our discussions," Crowley said.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in his opening remarks at the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue recently had sought non-discriminatory use of available energy resources. Before the Strategic Dialogue, Crowley had said that the US would be in a listening mode.

At a joint press availability with Qureshi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had termed the issue as a "complicated" one. In an interview to a news agency, Qureshi was quoted as saying that he was very satisfied with the talks he had with the US on civilian nuclear deal. However, he refrained from giving any further details about the talks on the issue.

Senator John Kerry, who chairs the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in an interview to the Cable of the Foreign Policy, also gave an indication in this regard. He had said that it is Pakistan which has to take appropriate steps so that not only the Administration and the Congress is convinced about the non-proliferation issues emanating from it, but also America's international partners, whose help would be required to get the international sanctity of such a deal.

"There are countless things that they would have to do in order to achieve it. If they're willing to do all those things, we'll see," Kerry said. "Given Pakistan's history of selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, such an agreement would realistically be 10 or 15 years away, a senior administration official said on Thursday. Still, the administration was careful not to dismiss the idea out of hand, The New York Times reported yesterday.

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