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Pak's commitments will reduce chances of proliferation: Obama

Pakistan's signing of the Nuclear Security communique and a range of commitments by it will make it less likely to proliferate or smuggle nuclear materials in future, US President Barack Obama said today.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2010 13:10 IST

Pakistan's signing of the Nuclear Security communique and a range of commitments by it will make it less likely to proliferate or smuggle nuclear materials in future, US President Barack Obama said today.

"The fact that Prime Minister (Yousuf Raza) Gilani came here, signed on to a communique, and made a range of commitments that will make it more likely that we don't see proliferation activities or trafficking occurring out of Pakistan is a positive thing," Obama said.

The US President said he felt confident about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal but that it could still improve its record.

"I feel confident about Pakistan's security around its nuclear weapons, but that doesn't mean that there isn't improvement to make" by all nations, Obama told reporters when asked about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

"... We've been very clear to Pakistan, as we have been to every country, that we think they should join the NPT. I have actually seen progress over the last several years with respect to Pakistan's nuclear security issues," Obama said.

Obama was apparently referring to the founder of Pakistan's nuclear programme A Q Khan who was accused of establishing a "transnational network of smugglers" to sell nuclear weapon capabilities to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.

Khan was placed under house arrest in early 2004 after he confessed to running a nuclear proliferation network on state-run television.

Obama also said he wanted to lower tensions throughout South Asia on nuclear weapons programmes and agreed that there is still a lot of work to do in South Asia.

"Do we have a lot more work to do? Absolutely. But I think that Prime Minister Gilani’s presence here was an important step in assuring that we do not see a nuclear crisis anywhere in South Asia," he observed.

"I think it's important to note that every nuclear power, every country that has a civilian nuclear energy programme, has to take better steps to secure these materials. And Pakistan is not exempt from that, but we aren't, either. That's I think the goal of this summit, and that was the goal of the communique and the work plan that we put forward," Obama added.