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Gilani to attend Nuclear Security Summit in Washington; hold meeting with President Obama.

ISLAMABAD, April 09, 2010 (Balochistan Times): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani will embark on a three-day visit to the United States of America Saturday to lead Pakistans delegation at the Nuclear Security Summit being hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington. On the invitation of President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will lead the Pakistan delegation at the Nuclear Security Summit being held in Washington on April 12-13. He will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The Prime Ministers participation in the Nuclear Security Summit would be his first engagement in an international forum dealing with nuclear issues after assuming the chairmanship of the National Command Authority (NCA), said a foreign office statement issued here on Friday. It may be recalled that President Obama announced to host a Global Summit on Nuclear Security in his Prague speech in April 2009. He identified nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. He announced to launch a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years to prevent it from falling into the hands of terrorists. Leaders from more than forty countries along with the UN Secretary General and Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been invited to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit. Pakistans Ambassador to China Masood Khan was designated as Pakistans Sherpa (focal point) for the Summit. He along with his team of experts actively participated in the preparatory meetings held in Vienna, Washington D.C, Tokyo and The Hague. The preparatory meetings finalized the draft Communiqu and the Work Plan as two outcome documents of the Summit. The programme of the Summit includes an exclusive kick-off dinner, two formal plenary sessions and a working lunch for the participating Heads of Delegation. Prime Minister Gilani will be one of the lead speakers at the inaugural dinner being hosted by President Obama on April 12 for the Heads of State/Government participating in the Summit. The Nuclear Security Summit is aimed at evolving consensus on securing nuclear facilities and materials around the globe. As a nuclear weapon state, Pakistan is cognizant of its special responsibilities and attaches highest importance to the security of nuclear materials both for civil and military use. Pakistan has developed and put in place multi-layered fail-safe mechanisms for the safety and security of its nuclear assets, the Foreign Office statement added. The Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with President Barack Obama and other world leaders on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. Prime Minister Gilani and President Obama are expected to discuss bilateral cooperation in wide-ranging areas including economy, trade, security and energy. The meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister and the US leader takes place in the backdrop of vastly improved relations between the two allies, striving to overcome the challenge of militancy in the region, diplomatic sources said. Pakistan-US relations have a new positive momentum since the recent strategic dialogue and we hope to build further momentum during the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Gilani on the sidelines of the Nuclear Summit next week, Islamabads Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani said in Washington. The strategic dialogue focused on transforming the bilateral ties into a long-term partnership. Pakistan militarys stepped up anti-militant operations - which have a widespread political and public backing under the democratic government led by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani - as well as Islamabads cooperative security efforts against militants operating on the Afghan border have brought the country tremendous international appreciation. In recent months, Washington has also expressed its willingness to address Pakistans legitimate security concerns in the region, where US-led international forces rely on Pakistans support to stabilize the restive Afghan border region. According to Wall Street Journal, President Obama recently issued a directive to top administration officials on launching diplomatic efforts towards improving Pakistan-India relations, which are widely seen as critical to achieving a successful outcome of the Afghan mission and establishing broader stability in South Asia. Commenting on the improved scenario, a report in the Financial Times noted that Pakistans clout is increasing in Washington as Islamabad gains firmer footing in dealing with current regional challenges. Ahead of the summit, President Obama has voiced confidence in the safety of Pakistani strategic assets. Prime Minister Gilani chaired a special meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Wednesday and took all the political forces into confidence before his visit to Washington. The Prime Minister on this occasion stated Pakistan being a nuclear state was cognizant of its responsibilities and had developed an effective nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation measures underpinned by extensive legislative, regulatory and administrative framework. He said nuclear power generation offers viable solutions for energy security and addressing the challenge of climate change. He mentioned that Pakistan had more than 35 years experience of operating nuclear power plants successfully. He further said highly trained manpower and a well established foolproof safety and security culture fully qualifies Pakistan for equal participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level which would help us in addressing our immediate energy problems and would bring greater stability as well. The Prime Minister declared that the democratic government in Pakistan considers nuclear safety, security and safeguards as vehicles for facilitating international civil nuclear cooperation. He observed that the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security can only be served and promoted through a non-discriminatory paradigm for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Pakistan, he added needs access to civilian nuclear technology on a non- discriminatory basis.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Apr 9, 2010
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