Obama confident of nuclear security of Pakistan

April 14, 2010 12:09 pm | Updated April 15, 2010 02:58 am IST - Washington

U.S.President Barack Obama during a press conference in Washington at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit. Photo: AP

U.S.President Barack Obama during a press conference in Washington at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit. Photo: AP

U.S. President Barack Obama said he felt “confident about Pakistan's security around its nuclear weapons programmes”; however, he added that did not mean there were no improvements to be made in its nuclear security programmes.

At a press conference on the final day of the Nuclear Security Summit, Mr. Obama said: “Pakistan is not exempt” from the requirement that “every nuclear power, every country that has a civilian nuclear energy programme, has to take better steps to secure these materials.”

To questions on whether Pakistan was playing by a different set of rules and expanding its nuclear programme in the proximity of Al Qaeda, Mr. Obama said that he did not think so, and that the United States had “been very clear to Pakistan… that we think they should join the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]. I have actually seen progress over the last several years with respect to Pakistan's nuclear security issues,” he added.

Arguing that Prime Minister Gilani's presence at the Summit was an “important step in assuring that we do not see a nuclear crisis anywhere in South Asia,” Mr. Obama said that the Prime Minister's signing of the Summit communiqué and a range of commitments he had made would make it “more likely that we do not see proliferation activities or trafficking occurring out of Pakistan.”

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley corroborated this view saying that while nuclear security was a global concern, the U.S. had “proliferation concerns in Asia, South Asia and in the Caucuses.”

Regarding South Asian nations in particular he said, “The reason why India and Pakistan are here is because they have nuclear programmes. Now they have shared responsibilities, along with other countries, to secure this material and make sure it does not get into the hands of outlier states or rogue elements in the future.”

He said that this was a global challenge and those countries that have nuclear programmes have a “special responsibility” to make sure that such a dissemination of nuclear materials does not happen.

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