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Monday, June 8, 1998 Published at 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK

India and Pakistan react angrily to UN

India and Pakistan have angrily rejected a United Nations resolution condemning their recent series of nuclear tests.

India's UN ambassador Kamalesh Sharma criticises the UN stand
The 15-member UN Security Council voted unanimously to urge both countries to stop their nuclear weapons programs and called on them not to carry out further tests to avert what it called a disastrous arms race.

However, the Indian foreign ministry denounced the statement as "coercive and unhelpful," and said it was a grotesque way of addressing the world's largest democracy.

The Pakistani ambassador to the UN, Ahmad Kamal, said nuclear proliferation in South Asia was now, regrettably, a fact and no amount of sermonising could change that.

And he laid the blame on the major powers, which he said had repeatedly failed to address the key issue of Kashmir - disputed by India and Pakistan.

Strong UN ruling

The UN resolution came out of a meeting of Security Council ambassadors in New York.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: "eliminating nuclear weapons the goal"
Apart from condemning India and Pakistan, it also encouraged 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."

The US Ambassador to the UN, 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.

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

No nuclear status

The resolution also stated that although India and Pakistan had 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.

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