Pak offers safeguards for N-assistance

Condoleezza had said US could not have nuke pact with Pakistan because of its previous record on proliferation.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 14:19 IST

Pakistan on Friday said it was ready to provide guarantees for safeguarding its nuclear facilities if the United States extended an offer for civil nuclear cooperation.

"We are strictly following the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) standards and would provide all guarantees for safeguarding civilian nuclear facilities," Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told a TV news channel.

Asked whether the US was denying Pakistan a nuclear deal similar to the one it has offered to India due to fears about proliferation, Aslam said: "No one should have fears about it. We have a perfect command and control system and we are strictly following standards set by IAEA."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had on Thursday said in New Delhi that the US could not have a nuclear cooperation agreement with Pakistan because of its previous record on nuclear proliferation.

Aslam said Pakistan expected the US would treat India and Pakistan equally in nuclear issues "given our energy needs."

Pakistan would strongly take up the issue of civil nuclear cooperation with US President George W. Bush during his visit to the country Friday-Saturday, she said.

Talking about US fears about the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, Aslam said Pakistan would go ahead with the scheme.

Asked about reports that India might pull out of the project, she said Pakistan has not received any such information. "But let me clear it that Pakistan will go ahead with the project because of our energy needs," Aslam said.

Muhammad Ali Durrani, the Pakistan prime minister's adviser on national issues, however, said there was nothing new in the civilian nuclear deal between the US and India.

"We already have such an agreement with China," Durrani said. "However we will take up this issue with the US President."

First Published: Mar 04, 2006 01:33 IST