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Pakistan summons US ambassador over Biden's nuclear remark

Pakistan summons US ambassador over Biden's nuclear remark

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks following his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington on Sep 26, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

KARACHI: Pakistan's foreign minister said on Saturday (Oct 15) he had summoned the US ambassador after President Joe Biden questioned the safety of Pakistan's nuclear programme.

In a speech on Thursday, Biden said Pakistan is "maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world" as it has "nuclear weapons without any cohesion".

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said he was surprised by the comments. "As far as the question of the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear assets are concerned, we meet all – each and every – international standard in accordance with the IAEA," he said at a press conference on Saturday.

A transcript of Biden's speech was published by the White House on its website.

Bhutto-Zardari said he did not think the decision to summon the US ambassador would negatively affect relations with the United States, and said officials could address any specific concerns Washington had on the nuclear programme.

Ties between Islamabad and Washington, once close allies, have just started to warm after some years of frosty relations, mostly due to concerns about Pakistan's alleged support of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies this support.

The foreign minister said worries about Pakistan's nuclear programme were not raised on his recent trip to Washington, where he held extensive meetings, including at the State Department. 

Source: Reuters/zl

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