Dialogue with Pakistan focuses on non-proliferation, says US
“We are very focused in our dialogue with Pakistan on keeping them (nuclear weapons) away from any kind of proliferation,” Jarret Blanc, deputy special representative of State for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told lawmakers in a Congressional briefing here.
“However, as of now, there seems to be no indication of proliferation of nuclear weapons from Pakistan,” Blanc said when Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen inquired about reports of nuclear co-operation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
“We would look very negatively on any indication of proliferation of any kind, including that. Certainly, a large part of our national security dialogue with Pakistan is focused on non-proliferation issues,” Blanc said.
However, lawmaker Ros-Lehtinen, had reservations about Pakistan’s commitment to non-proliferation and during the Congressional hearing, she drew attention to the former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who has posed the scenario of “a Pakistani nuclear guarantee for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the face of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme”.
Posing a series of questions to the US official, Ros-Lehtinen asked, “Do you think that Pakistan would sell Saudi Arabia a nuclear weapon? What can you tell us about their nuclear cooperation? What would other players in the region acquire the technology for? We have heard reports that other countries in the region might be interested as well?”
Blanc replied that the US is not seeing proliferation concerns of that nature.
“Within the limits of what we can discuss here, I would just say non-proliferation is an important part of our dialogue with Pakistan,” he said.
“Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stockpile is reportedly growing faster than any other in the world and is notoriously insecure,” Ros-Lehtinen has said, while chairing a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan and Pakistan.