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PM Gilani terms dirty bomb threat real

14 April, 2010

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WASHINGTON: Pakistan has taken the world into confidence about its understanding of the fears and threats being expressed about nuclear security and assured that it has made all possible arrangements to ward off any misadventure on this count.

The assurance came from Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani here at the dinner session of the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama. The undertaking was given by the Pakistani leader who recently gained control over the country’s prestigious nuclear programme. He was widely applauded and appreciated by the gathering.

Terming the threat of terrorist acts involving ‘dirty bombs’ more real and having global dimensions, Gilani called for additional measures by the world to combat this threat. “The threat of terrorist acts involving dirty bombs is more real and it has global dimensions. We should take additional measures to combat this threat”, Gilani said in his speech at the dinner session of the summit hosted by President Obama here at the Leader’s Dining Room in the spacious Washington Convention Centre.

Prime Minister Gilani, who was one of the eight leaders invited by Obama to speak at the dinner, assured that the democratic government in Pakistan is fully committed to ensuring nuclear security.

“So far, reported incidents of illicit trafficking of direct use of nuclear material have been low. But there is no room for complacency here. We need strong national actions and greater international coordination to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear materials”, he emphasised.

The prime minister said that Pakistan, as a nuclear weapon state, attaches highest importance to the security of nuclear materials and facilities and for this purpose it has put in place multi-layered mechanisms and processes.

“We have done so, first and foremost, in our own national interest and to protect our strategic assets”, he added. Premier Gilani who was a lead speaker in formal dinner where the participating leaders shared their views about the threats of nuclear terrorism said that nuclear security within a state is a national responsibility, adding, international cooperation is important to promote a responsive and resilient nuclear security culture. “Success would ultimately depend on national actions”, he added.

The prime minister said Pakistan has a robust nuclear security regime with four prongs of strategy. “Our nuclear security system is managed and supported by a three-tier command and control system, a regulatory regime covering nuclear security, and comprehensive export controls”.

He said the present democratic government passed the National Command Authority Ordinance as an Act of Parliament and has also constituted a Parliamentary Committee on National Security that closely watches policies and their implementation.

Gilani said Pakistan’s Nuclear Security Action Plan (NSAP) is being implemented in cooperation with the IAEA. “We are constantly refining and updating our systems”, he added. Gilani said Pakistan is cooperating with the international legal regimes, arrangements, and initiatives and has been reporting regularly to the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 Committee. “We are implementing provisions of the relevant Conventions and IAEA Code of Conduct”, he added.

The prime minister said Pakistan welcomes the Summit’s emphasis on assistance for capacity building and sharing of best practices, in nuclear security. “We are working for regional stability in South Asia. Our objective is to enhance nuclear security, in its holistic sense, and reduce nuclear risks. We believe that Pakistan’s proposals on a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR) in South Asia will go a long way in making our region secure and stable”, he added.

Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan has already worked with India on several nuclear confidence building measures, adding, “This effort must continue. More than ever before, our two nations need to hold a sustained dialogue to address all issues”.

Gilani said for Pakistan, civil nuclear power generation is an essential part of the national energy security strategy, to help meet our energy needs for social and economic development. “We have more than 35 years experience of operating nuclear power plants. Pakistan has highly trained manpower and a well established safety and security culture”, he added.

The prime minister said that Pakistan qualifies for participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level. “We urge all relevant forums to give Pakistan access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses, in a non-discriminatory manner”.

Gilani recalled President Obama’s inspiring call to reduce nuclear risks last year in Prague and said, “We welcome the objectives on nuclear security set out by you. We congratulate you and President Medvedev over the conclusion and signing of the historic New START”.

“Mr President, in Prague, you said that terrorists must never acquire a nuclear weapon. We fully agree with you. All nations must be in a state of constant preparedness for effective and timely response to such a threat”, he added.


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