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China to back Pakistan for civil nuclear deal with US

By The Assam Tribune

ISLAMABAD, April 9 (IANS): China will back Pakistan for a civil nuclear deal with the US at an upcoming summit in Washington, a media report said on Thursday, citing sources privy to a special meeting of the parliamentary committee on national security.

China's support on the issue was discussed on Wednesday at the special parliamentary committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Daily Times reported. The committee was assured that Pakistan will actively pursue its case for a civil nuclear deal with the US during Gilani's upcoming visit to the US.

Sources said the Pakistani ambassador to China - who participated in preliminary deliberations on the nuclear summit in Washington - briefed the committee on the objectives of the summit and Pakistan's preparations to positively contribute to the deliberations.

Meanwhile, in a press statement after the meetings, Gilani reiterated his government's commitment to take all parliamentary parties into confidence over all national policies, particularly those on defence, Kashmir and the country's nuclear programme. He said Pakistan was aware of its responsibilities as a nuclear state.

Pakistan had taken effective steps for nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation through "extensive legislative and a regulatory and administrative framework", Gilani said at the meeting.

Gilani, who is also the National Command Authority chairman, said his government fully accepted the responsibility of nuclear security. He said nuclear power generation offered viable solutions for energy security and in addressing the challenge of climate change.

He highlighted that Pakistan had more than 35 years of experience in operating nuclear power plants successfully.

He said socio-economic development hinged on the ability to meet rapidly expanding energy requirements. "We need to explore all options to ensure a reliable energy mix, and civil nuclear power generation is, therefore, an essential part of our national energy security strategy."

He said the government considered nuclear safety, security and safeguards "vehicles to facilitate international civil nuclear cooperation".

Gilani said the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation could only be served through a non-discriminatory paradigm for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Representatives of all political parties assured Gilani their complete support, and expressed confidence that he would successfully put across Pakistan's viewpoint.

The members of the committee also praised the preparations made by Pakistani representatives for the summit. The special meeting was also attended by General Tariq Majid, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and the foreign secretary.

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