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Saturday, June 6, 1998 Published at 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK

UN condemns Asian nuclear tests

UN: wants India and Pakistan to avert 'a disastrous arms race'

BBC correspondent Rob Watson says the UN does not want a nuclear war in south Asia
The United Nations Security Council has condemned India and Pakistan for their recent nuclear tests.

It voted unanimously to urge both countries to stop their nuclear weapons programs.

The 15-member body called on the two sides not to carry out further tests to avert what it called a disastrous arms race.

The resolution follows a meeting of Security Council ambassadors in New York.

It also encourages member states to prevent the export of materials, equipment and technology "that could in any way assist programs in India or Pakistan for nuclear weapons."

[ image: Annan: urging dialogue]
Annan: urging dialogue
It welcomed an offer by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to encourage India and Pakistan to resume talks that broke down last year because of differences over Kashmir.

The US Ambassador Bill Richardson said the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in recent weeks represented "a profound blow" to the stability and security of south Asia.

Despite the sanctions America has imposed on the two countries, Mr Richardson said his country's policy is not to make India and Pakistan "pariah states" but to "engage and to convince them that it is in their own national security interests to do what the international community is urging them to do."

The Security Council, whose permanent members are all nuclear powers, reaffirmed their own commitment to nuclear disarmament.

The resolution also stated that although India and Pakistan have exploded nuclear devices, they would not be accorded status as nuclear states.

Under the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the five nuclear powers are the only nations allowed to maintain nuclear arsenals. India and Pakistan have refused to sign the treaty.

The Security Council's resolution follows nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan last month.

India conducted two series of tests at Pokhran in the northern state of Rajasthan on May 11 and 13.

Although urged not to retaliate, Pakistan announced that it had conducted five nuclear tests in south western Baluchistan on May 28.

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