News Summary on Desire for Non-Violent Resolution of Iran's Nuclear Issue (Excerpts)

April 18, 2006

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Pakistan for non-violent resolution of Iran's nuclear issue; Kasuri

Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri has said that Pakistan want peaceful and diplomatic resolution of Iran's nuclear issue and is against use of force in this regard. Addressing a press conference at State Guest House here on Tuesday, he said, "Basic ingredients of our policy vis-a-vis Iran's nuclear issue are that there should be non-violent resolution of the problem; diplomacy should be given a chance and no haste should be shown." He said Iran's stance is that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purpose and it does not want to develop nuclear weapons while its supreme religious leader has stated that nuclear weapons are against the dictates of Islam.

He said, " Iran is signatory of NPT and it should be given all rights under the treaty and Iran should fulfil its obligation. When Iran states that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purpose and world also want it to keep its programme peaceful, diplomacy can work and should be given chance to sort out the matter." He said, "We are hopeful that it would be solved in a way that Iran's national prestige is not hurt and World's demands are also met." To a question regarding Pakistan's role for resolution of the issue, he said, " We have been doing whatever we can do and would continue to do so in future as we want that the issue be settled peacefully."

When asked about the fate of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, he said Pakistan requires energy to meet its fast growing industry's demand and if effective measures are not taken to meet future energy requirements the country may face energy shortage. "Work is in progress to sort out matters pertaining to price of the gas as Iran has already given its recommendations in this regard while Pakistan and India are looking into it and hopefully agreement in this regard would be reached," Kasuri said. He said work on options of importing gas from Qatar and Turkmenistan is also in progress.

Asked about relations with India, he said Composite Dialogue process is moving in the right direction. He said both countries want to resolve all outstanding issues and confidence building measure would lead to resolution of all issues including minor issues like Sir Creek and Siachin and ultimately the core issue of Kashmir. To a question regarding the approach of Indian leadership, he said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that India wants "pragmatic and practical resolution of issues.' To a question about visas facilitation, Kasuri said the two countries would take steps for easing visa restrictions with further improvement in relations. The minister categorically stated that there was no pressure on Pakistan regarding its nuclear programme.

"Now talk of roll back and capping of the programme has become thing of the past." Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said, "Our nuclear programme is for defensive purpose and we have already offered India strategic Restraint Regime in the context of Composite Dialogue Process." To a question about Shangahi Cooperation Organization, he said at present Pakistan has observer status at the forum, adding that China and Russia would support Pakistan's full membership. Answering another question he said, "Pakistan has good relations both with China and US which speaks of the success of our foreign policy."

The minister said during his visit to Turkey from April 20-23, he would discuss bilateral, regional and international issues with his counterpart besides meeting Turkish Prime Minister and parliamentarians to exchange views on matters of mutual interest. Later in Germany , he would discuss bilateral ties, Iran issue, Iraq situation , India-US civil nuclear energy agreement and other matters of mutual interest with his German counterpart. He said Pakistan enjoys good friendly relations with these two countries and his visit would help strengthen the bonds of friendship with them.

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