Eighth Round of Pakistan-United States Talks on Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation Issues
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller co-chaired the eighth round of the Pakistan-U.S. Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation (SSS&NP) Working Group in Islamabad on May 17, 2016.
The delegations had a productive exchange of views on issues of mutual importance, including strategic export control regimes, nonproliferation, and regional stability and security, while building on the progress of the 7th Round of SSS&NP meeting held at Washington D.C. on 2nd June 2015.
The U.S. delegation recognized Pakistan’s significant efforts to harmornize its strategic trade controls with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and other multilateral export control regimes. Both sides agreed on the value of Pakistan’s continued engagement, outreach and integration into the international non-proliferation regime. The Pakistan delegation expressed its confidence regarding Pakistan’s credentials to become full member of the export control regimes, particularly the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Both sides committed to continue cooperation related to export control capacity-building under the U.S. Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program.
Pakistan stressed the need for access to peaceful uses of nuclear technology as a socio-economic imperative. Pakistan also indicated its interest in cooperation with the U.S. on peaceful applications of nuclear science in areas such as health, agriculture and water. The U.S. expressed its interest in exploring such nuclear science cooperation with Pakistan.
The delegations reaffirmed the high importance that both countries attach to preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery to states as well as non-state actors. In this regard they, inter alia, noted that both have consistently supported and implemented United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. Both delegations agreed to remain engaged in discussions on an objective Comprehensive Review of the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, scheduled later this year.
The United States underscored its continued efforts to realize the agenda set forth in President Obama’s 2009 Prague speech. Both sides noted the high priority that arms control has for the international community. The United States outlined its nuclear stockpile reductions, explained its efforts to seek congressional approval to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and reaffirmed its commitment not to conduct further nuclear test explosions. Pakistan reaffirmed its consistent stance that it will not be the first in its region to resume nuclear testing and expressed its support for the objectives of CTBT which it has manifested through support for CTBT-related resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly.
The United States underscored the need to commence negotiations on a treaty dealing with fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons. Pakistan underlined its preference for a broader Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) that addresses the asymmetries in existing stocks and highlighted that its position will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia.
Both sides recognized their interest in strategic stability and discussed their respective concerns over nuclear and missile developments in South Asia. In that context, Pakistan also expressed concerns on the growing conventional imbalance and reiterated its longstanding proposal for Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR) in South Asia and its readiness to pursue measures in the region aimed at building confidence and avoidance of arms race. Both sides emphasized the importance of meaningful dialogue and progress in this area and expressed the hope for lasting peace in South Asia and the resolution of outstanding disputes through peaceful means.
The delegations expressed satisfaction on the successful culmination of the Nuclear Security Summit process which has resulted in further strengthening of the international nuclear security architecture. Both countries welcomed their respective ratification of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its entry into force earlier this month. Both sides underscored the importance of preventing the risk of global nuclear terrorism and reaffirmed their participation in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). Both parties affirmed intentions to implement the voluntary political commitments made at the Nuclear Security Summit with a view to enhance national nuclear security practices.
Both sides noted the Annual Meeting of International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centre hosted by Pakistan in March and establishment of physical protection exterior laboratory at Pakistan’s Centre of Excellence as reflective of Pakistan’s ongoing successful collaboration with the IAEA.
The delegations also discussed issues related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and committed to continue such consultations. The delegations also emphasized their shared desire for a successful BWC Review Conference in November and agreed to continue working together to that end.
The delegations reaffirmed that the Working Group remains an invaluable forum for discussing issues of critical mutual importance and stated that they looked forward to future sessions.
The SSS&NP is a Working Group under the U.S.–Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.