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Nawaz Sharif to represent Pakistan at a nuclear summit in USA

01 February, 2016

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WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will represent Pakistan at a nuclear summit in March this year when the outgoing Obama administration would try to reach some understanding with recognised and unrecognised nuclear states to control proliferation, official sources told reporters.

Earlier this week, Pakistan attended a sherpa (preparatory) meeting for the summit in San Francisco. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and Ambas­sador Jalil Abbas Jilani represented Pakistan at the meeting.

US President Barack Obama will host the fourth and the final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) on April 1 in Washington.

Leaders from 50 countries and international organisa­tions will participate. Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be among the leaders expected to attend the meeting.

The NSS process has been President Obama’s flagship initiative since his first term when he underlined security of nuclear materials as a priority of his administration. Since then Nuclear Security Summits have taken place in 2010, 2102 and 2104. This will be the fourth and final summit as President Obama completes his final term this year.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani attended 2010 and 2012 summits. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the last summit in The Hague in 2014.

“Such high-level participation by Pakistan manifests the importance attached to this issue and as a reflection of its strong commitment to nuclear security as a nuclear weapon state,” Ambassador Jilani told Dawn.

The summit meeting will discuss the future of the nuclear security summit process and will determine pathways to secure and build on the achievements of the whole process. “The United States has been very appreciative of Pakistan’s participation in these meetings and has periodically recognised Pakis­tan’s active engagement with global community on the issue of nuclear security,” Ambassador Jilani said.

In a policy statement on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the US Department expressed confidence that the country was “well aware of its responsibilities with respect to nuclear security and has secured its nuclear arsenal accordingly”.

The statement pointed out that US Secretary of State John Kerry had also expressed confidence in “Pakistan’s commitment and dedication to nuclear security and appreciation for Pakistan’s efforts to improve its strategic trade controls”.

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