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Britain welcomes Pakistani steps on nuclear security

Britain has commended the actions taken by Pakistan to ensure security of its nuclear facilities and to counter nuclear proliferation.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2004 13:37 IST

Britain has commended the actions taken by Pakistan to ensure security of its nuclear facilities and to counter nuclear proliferation.

"Britain commends the actions taken by Pakistan,"British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said at a joint news conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

"We are satisfied with the progress Pakistani authorities are making on the
issue of nuclear non-proliferation and their cooperation to the IAEA
(International Atomic Energy Agency)," he said.

The Pakistani foreign minister said the government has decided to bring
about comprehensive legislation on export control soon.

Kasuri said he told the foreign secretary that it is in the interest of the
international community that Pakistan, India and Israel are recognised as
nuclear powers.

He pointed out that there are disagreements on Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), but there can be a multilateral agreement on
non-proliferation.

The British Foreign Secretary said he had a wide range of discussions with
President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali and
Kasuri.

He said their discussions were dominated by progress on Pakistan-India
relations and the importance of Kashmir being part of the composite
dialogue, issue of non-proliferation and other issues, which can affect
relations between the Islamic world and the rest.

Straw said he shared Musharraf's views on the need to deal with terrorism
and his thoughts on the environment in which terrorists breed.

He said there is need to ensure justice and a satisfactory and just solution
to the Kashmir and the Israel-Palestine problems.

Straw talked of the British prime minister's admiration for the
"statesmanship and personal courage" of Musharraf for his efforts in
bringing peace to the South Asian region, particularly the initiative he and
the Indian Prime Minister had taken for a composite dialogue, including
discussions on the future of Kashmir.

He said the outcome of the discussion is entirely a matter for the two
countries but as a friend, Britain takes close interest in the outcome and
would do everything to help find a solution.

Straw also commended the work done by the Pakistan government in its fight
against terrorism.

He announced that from May 1, a visa service for all categories of Pakistani
applicants, including first time visitors of all ages, would be restored.

The British foreign secretary hoped that by next year, Islamabad would have
Britain's biggest ever visa operation, handling about 200,000 applicants.

Kasuri said they had "excellent dialogue" on all matters of mutual interest,
adding that Straw underlined that Pakistan was an important partner and a
key ally in the fight against terrorism.

He said Pakistan was happy over increased British assistance.

Replying to a question, Straw said though Pakistan's readmission into the Commonwealth will be decided by the Ministerial Action Group, Britain holds
the view that the country now fulfils the criteria.

First Published: Mar 08, 2004 13:37 IST