The Obama Administration says the Indo-US civil nuclear deal has not ‘weakened’ the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the landmark pact comes with a number of ‘transparency mechanisms’

Ellen Tauscher, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, gave this assessment ahead of the once-in-a-five year NPT review conference starting next week for which officials of more than 180 countries will gather at the UN headquarters in New York.

“We don’t believe we weakened the NPT in our peaceful civilian nuclear deal with India,” Ms. Tauscher told a tele- conference with reporters yesterday.

Another official meanwhile said that during the NPT Review Conference the US will push for all states that are not members of the treaty including India and Pakistan to join the nuclear accord. India has refused to sign the controversial treaty calling it discriminatory. Israel is also not a signatory to the controversial accord.

“The US has had a long-standing policy of supporting the universal adherence to NPT,” Susan Burk Special Representative of the President for nuclear non-proliferation told PTI, in response to a question whether Washington will address the question of New Delhi and Islamabad’s absence from the NPT.

“And I am quite confident that the issue will be raised during the review conference, and there will be a desire to recommit the parties’ support for that,” she added.

Elaborating on the Indo-US nuke deal and NPT, Ms. Tauscher said “It’s a deal that comes with safeguards, and it comes with a number of other transparency mechanisms that we think, frankly, add to the security and the non-proliferation concerns that we had prior to that.”

“So I think that, you know, it’s not our bad if something else happens, but certainly what we’re for and what we make very clear we’re for is that we want a strong NPT, we want a strong IAEA that is well funded, that has the authorities it needs to be the right watchdog for the time that we live in.”

Ms. Tauscher also voiced US’ disappointment at Pakistan blocking negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

“I will tell you that I think everyone shares the disappointment that the United States shares, that there is a country (Pakistan) that is blocking the program of work that was a very hard-fought agreement, among the six chairmen - somewhat historic last year in the conference on disarmament in Geneva - to move forward on a program of work, to begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty,” she said in response to a question.

“As you know, we are for that. (The US) President (Barack) Obama made very clear in his Prague speech a year ago that the United States would move toward negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

“I think we join a lot of our friends and allies trying to persuade that country to step away and let the program of work go forward, because it would be a long negotiation. And certainly that is a good opportunity for them, to make their opinions known and their concerns known,” Ms. Tauscher said.

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