Belgium wants Pak to put N-facilities under IAEA | india | Hindustan Times
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Belgium wants Pak to put N-facilities under IAEA

india Updated: Nov 02, 2006 17:01 IST
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Visiting Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht has asked Pakistan to 'cooperate more' with the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) if it wants access to global civilian nuclear technology.

Belgium is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

The issue came up during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Kasuri here on Wednesday.

Both the ministers confirmed that during their talks the key question of civilian nuclear cooperation was discussed and they had stated their respective positions.

Gucht was, however, non-committal on the question of whether Belgium acknowledged Pakistan's right to civilian nuclear technology and supported its call for the NSG to pursue a criteria-based approach for civilian nuclear trade, Dawn newspaper reported on Thursday.

Gucht stated that he had discussed "Pakistan's nuclear profile" with Kasuri and in what was interpreted as a reference to the IAEA additional protocol with non-NPT states, he said: "I expressed the opinion that it will be very important that Pakistan comes back to the International Atomic Energy Agency and come to a regime whereby their civil nuclear plants will be duly inspected by the agency. I think it is very important that you will have the situation regularised."

Pakistan has sought a position at par with India while seeking greater access to civilian nuclear technology from the West.

However, Gucht said: "I am not making any comparisons with the other countries but I think it is very important also to stop nuclear proliferation."

At this point Kauri intervened to say that he had explained at length to his Belgian counterpart Pakistan's position that the rationale behind denying civilian nuclear technology would be understandable for countries that did not possess nuclear weapons but Pakistan was already a declared nuclear power and had the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons.