N-deal with Pak not possible now: Rice
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N-deal with Pak not possible now: Rice

A nuclear deal between US and Pakistan is not possible at this juncture as there were "concerns" over Pakistan's proliferation record, US Secretary of State Condoleezza said.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 14:19 IST

A nuclear deal between Washington and Islamabad is not possible at this juncture as there were "concerns" over Pakistan's proliferation record, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said.

"Everyone knows that there have been concerns in terms of proliferation with Pakistan. Pakistan itself is aware of it. We are working with Pakistan to improve on proliferation," Rice told 'Zee News' in an interview on Thursday night.

Asked whether the US could sign a nuclear deal with Pakistan as it did with India when President George W Bush visits that country, she said "this is not a stage Pakistan is currently in ..... This is not the time for such an arrangement with Pakistan."

However, Washington considered Pakistan and President Pervez Musharraf as a "tremendous ally" in the war on terrorism .... We must fight terror more robustly. We are working with Musharraf in areas which are largely ungoverned. Pakistani army and its frontier forces are fighting Al Qaeda more actively".

Parrying a question on the Indo-Iran gas pipeline, Rice said both India and the US were very dependent on hydrocarbons for energy supplies and President Bush now favoured allowing all countries to have "clean nuclear energy and civilian nuclear power, regardless of what happens to the pipeline".

Observing that India "has an excellent nuclear proliferation record", the top US official said the civilian nuclear arrangement signed today allowed New Delhi to be "part of the international consensus about nuclear non-proliferation."

"It allows India to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency for inter-specific safeguards for civilian nuclear programme," Rice said, adding it would also open the way for cooperation in civilian nuclear programme for energy supplies.

Asked about India's efforts to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, she said "we understand India's aspirations".

However, the reforms in the Security Council should be carried out in the context of broader reforms in the United Nations, especially in its management, creation of a peace- building committee and reforming the Human Rights Committee.

First Published: Mar 03, 2006 10:52 IST