Pakistan, US agree to begin talks on civil nuclear technology

Islamabad, July 16 (IANS) Pakistan and the US Tuesday agreed to begin negotiations on civil nuclear technology, media reports said.

Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar, addressing a joint press conference along with Elizabeth L. Littlefield, president Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), here said that both countries agreed in principle to continue dialogue on civil nuclear technology cooperation, said the Associated Press of Pakistan.

However, Dar said that no timeline could be given for any future agreement on the issue, it said.

Both sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in the energy sector with special focus on development of bio-gas and wind energy to help Pakistan overcome the power crisis.

Both sides also discussed investments and cooperation in other sectors.

In 2010, the US rebuffed then Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani when he said his country "qualifies" for a civilian nuclear deal with the US, like that with India.

The Obama administration then said that such a deal was not part of its talks with Islamabad.

In March 2010, a high-level Pakistani delegation led by then Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited the US to launch the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue. The Pakistani delegation sought a civil nuclear deal with the US on the lines of that of India.

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's new prime minister during his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Islamabad in May this year, sought Chinese assistance in the field of civil nuclear technology to overcome the country's energy crisis.

Li said Beijing was ready to extend cooperation to Islamabad in the field of civil nuclear technology.


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