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Pakistan has threatened to torpedo negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty if the international community approves a unique civil nuclear cooperation initiative with India.
Shahbaz, Pakistan's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned that if the IAEA approves a draft safeguards agreement with India, and nuclear sanctions are lifted against New Delhi, then this would nip in the bud upcoming talks on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
He told Nucleonics Week, a journal tracking global nuclear issues, that the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group, a club that regulates nuclear commerce, “can say good-bye to it (the FMCT)”.
The fissile material cut-off treaty has been in the works for years, with Pakistan and India being among those who had objections to the principles behind commencing talks on curtailing the production of material which can be used to produce nuclear bombs. <b1>
He said Pakistan's objections to the civil nuclear tango with India was its “last chance” to ensure that New Delhi doesn't desert the league both countries have been in since their nuclear explosions in May 1998.
It's evident that Pakistan's last-ditch efforts to queer the pitch for India's civil nuclear initiative is being driven by the fact that the rest of the world is loath to extend a similar deal to Islamabad.
Sibal leaves for Finland
India is keeping up the diplomatic momentum on pushing its nuclear deal with NSG members. Science & Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who just returned from Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, leaves for Finland and Sweden on Saturday night.
“It should be all right,” Sibal told HT on Saturday afternoon when asked about the signals received from interlocutors in the three countries he has visited.
The Union Minister was hopeful that these Scandinavian countries, some of which have strong views on nuclear non-proliferation, would come around to support India's case at the NSG.
In a related development, Ghana's President John Kufuor assured Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma of his country's support for India in the IAEA board of governors. Sharma is also travelling to Nigeria and Ethiopia, both of who are on the IAEA board.