Pakistan 'working' on Singh-Nawaz meeting
06 September, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Thursday it was working to fix a date for a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Deadly skirmishes across the de facto border in divided Kashmir have jeopardised plans for the meeting in New York, which would come months after peace talks again stalled between the two neighbours. Since winning an election in May, Nawaz has been vocal in his desire for better relations with India, but the recent flare-ups have overshadowed the prospects.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said the meeting would be "a useful opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue" and resume stalled peace talks. "The date of the meeting is being worked out," he told a news conference.
"Pakistan has always supported the policy of restraint, responsibility and dialogue in the larger interest of peace in the region," Chaudhry added. Skirmishes across the heavily militarised Line of Control have killed six Pakistanis and five Indian soldiers since August 5. Delhi blamed the deaths of the five Indians on August 5 on the Pakistani army, but Islamabad denied any responsibility. A deadly flare-up along the LoC in January brought a halt to peace talks that had only just resumed. Discussions were suspended for three years after the 2008 attacks in Mumbai which killed 166 people and which India blamed on Pakistani militants.
Meanwhile, Pakistan on Wednesday once again reiterated that it has robust command and control system to ensure safety and security of nuclear installations and materials. Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said, "Pakistan has established extensive physical protection measures, robust command and control institutions under the chairmanship of the prime minister, comprehensive and effective export controls regulatory regimes to ensure safety and security of nuclear installations and materials."
He said a scheduled meeting of the National Command and Control Authority was held here under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in which he was briefed about the comprehensive security system. Commenting on the reports regarding American surveillance and threat to Pakistan's nuclear installations, the spokesman said, "We follow best international practices and standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure safety of nuclear installations.
He said Pakistan is also committed to the objectives of disarmament and non-proliferation. Commenting on a story published in the Washington Post, the spokesman said Pakistan's policy was characterised by restraint and responsibility. He said Pakistan was also fully engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues. "The efficacy of our strategic export controls has been acknowledged by experts from the international export control regimes during interactions on various occasions."
The spokesman said Pakistan was a state party to both Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention and was fully implementing the two regimes. Pakistan's nuclear deterrence capability was aimed at maintaining regional stability in South Asia, he added.