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Friday, 28 August, 1998, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
'Constructive' US-Pakistani talks
Pakistan nuclear Ghauri missile
Pakistani missile: Islamabad backs test ban
Talks in London between senior US and Pakistani officials on on the future of Pakistan's nuclear weapons strategy have concluded with a commitment for the two sides to meet again next month.

A statement from the American embassy described the discussions as serious, substantive and constructive.

Shamshad Ahmed
Ahmed: Kashmir is a core issue
The talks between Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed and US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott were held at a secret location in London.

It was the fourth time the two sides have met to discuss the issue.

The United States has been trying to prevent a nuclear arms race in South Asia since India and Pakistan conducted underground nuclear tests in May.

It is hoping that both India and Pakistan will agree to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Pakistan 'backs' test ban

Before the talks, Pakistan indicated it supported a nuclear test ban.

Mr Ahmed said Pakistan backed non-proliferation, but would not give up its newly acquired nuclear capabality - "its credible deterrence capability."

He added that Pakistan had supported the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at the United Nations.

"We have already declared a moratorium on testing subject to the maintenance of status quo in the region.

''We have also publicly stated that nuclear technology would not be transferred to any third party or entity. Thus, we have a consistently positive attitude to non-proliferation," he said.

But Pakistan has said previously it will not sign a test ban treaty that would give an advantage to rival India.

Call for Kashmir mediation

During previous talks, Pakistan pressed for world involvement in settling the Kashmir dispute.

The two neighbours fought a third war over Bangladesh, previously East Pakistan.

India has rejected international mediation in the dispute.

"Non-proliferation is on the agenda, but the cause of tension in South Asia has to be addressed, and the root cause is Jammu and Kashmir," a foreign ministry official said.

Strobe Talbott
Talbott: No comment on talks
Pakistan's economy, which depends more heavily than India's on international loans, has suffered from economic sanctions the US imposed on both countries after their nuclear tests.

Mr Ahmed has warned sanctions would be counterproductive.

He will also use the meeting to discuss last week's US cruise missile strikes against alleged terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

The attack was in retaliation for the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania which left 257 people dead.

Mr Ahmed is likely to discuss the US violation of Pakistan's airspace to attack Afghanistan.

An unexploded US missile is still lying in southern Pakistan five days after it was fired.

India says no to ban treaty

Mr Talbot's meeting with Mr Ahmed follows similar discussions with Indian special envoy Jaswant Singh in Washington.

A spokesman said the talks were ''positive, candid and constructive''.

Washington wants India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

But India claims the treaty protects the domination of the existing nuclear states - Britain, China, France, Russia and the US.

It also wants India to sign the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, which restricts the transfer of dual-use technology to non-nuclear weapons states.

See also:

31 May 98 | S/W Asia
31 May 98 | S/W Asia
01 Jun 98 | S/W Asia
19 May 98 | S/W Asia
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