Sino-Pak deal raises global brows

Washington conveys to Islamabad concern over nuke pact; announces $500m aid
Last Updated 19 July 2010, 16:06 IST

The US concerns were conveyed at a news conference by visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who wanted Islamabad to respond to these concerns. Hillary said the world community has reservations about a Pakistan-China deal for the supply of nuclear reactors, while responding to a question about concerns on the Pakistan-China nuclear deal. She indicated that there were a series of questions about the nuclear deal with China that needs to be addressed by Pakistan.

Act on terror
The US leader also sought tougher action from Islamabad to combat militants, especially in the restive tribal belt, bordering Afghanistan.

At a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office here, the US Secretary of State said that the deal must be approved by the Nuclear Supplier’s Group.

She said the NSG which recently examined the proposed deal, has “poses a series of questions that should be answered”.

The remarks by Hillary come as reports have said that China was planning to supply two new reactors for Pakistan’s Chashma nuclear power complex.

On questions on whether US was ready to enter into a civil nuclear agreement with Pakistan, Hillary said “intensive discussions” have begun to explore such a deal, but outlined that issues to be addressed included rigorous control over the export of nuclear information and material.

US aid
In the course of her hectic meetings with the top Pakistani leadership including Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, she stressed on US’ continued interest in Pakistan as she announced a number of new aid projects to the country worth $500 million. The projects include new dams for power-starved Pakistan and hospitals and the US hopes they will help overcome anti-American opinion in Pakistan, a key ally in the war against terrorism and the military campaign in Afghanistan.

“There is a legacy of suspicion that we inherited. It is not going to be eliminated overnight. Our goal is to slowly but surely demonstrate that the US is concerned about Pakistan in the long term,” Hillary said at a joint news conference with Qureshi.

(Published 19 July 2010, 10:49 IST)

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