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Powerful Senators oppose civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan

Two powerful Senators, both of whom have influential role in shaping US foreign policy and considered to be very close to President Barack Obama, have opposed the idea of having a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2010 22:24 IST

Two powerful Senators, both of whom have influential role in shaping US foreign policy and considered to be very close to President Barack Obama, have opposed the idea of having a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan.

"I don't think it's on the table right now considering all over the other issues we have to confront," Senate Foreign Relations chairman John Kerry, told 'The Cable', on-line news blog of the prestigious Foreign Policy.

"There are countless things that they would have to do in order to achieve it. If they're willing to do all those things, we'll see," Kerry, who was the Democratic Party's presidential candidate in 2004 and is considered to be Obama's key foreign policy aid, said.

Islamabad is pushing for a civilian nuclear accord with the US on the lines of that of India, according to a 56-page wish list submitted to the Obama Administration.

Senator Richard Lugar, Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also opposed the civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan, saying this should be delinked from the Strategic Dialogue – which started at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department this morning.

"I think it's premature. It's not likely to be part of the agenda at this time," Lugar told 'The Cable' and added that he totally understands Pakistan's desire for energy cooperation and Islamabad's willingness to sign a gas pipeline deal with Iran.

"Everybody is desperate for resources and that has superseded a number of other considerations," Lugar said.

Both Kerry and Lugar met Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the visiting delegation at the Congress yesterday where this issues was brought up by the Pakistani leaders.

The Senators, also, separately met Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.