Opening Statement of Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser on Foreign Affairs,
at a Press Briefing, on 12 August 2016
The first item for this briefing is the outcome of the Envoy Conference held earlier this month.
As you are aware, on 1-3 August 2016, we convened an Envoys Conference to deliberate on major foreign policy challenges of Pakistan and to make recommendations, which were then presented to the Prime Minister on 3 August 2016.
The Envoys held in-depth discussions on the global and regional issues and agreed that the key elements of the foreign policy of Pakistan were pointing in the correct direction. The broad framework of our foreign policy included the following:
Peace for Development
Building a "peaceful neighborhood"
"Trade, not aid" - Economic Diplomacy
Promoting the potential and welfare of Pakistani Diaspora
Enhancing Pakista's image abroad
The Envoys noted that in the face of phenomenal changes on the global and regional scene, new alignments were taking shape. Pakistan and China's collaboration on the CPEC and our reach out to Central Asian countries and connectivity to Eurasian landmass were opening new vistas of connectivity, economic opportunities and prosperity.
While our relations with China are time-tested, we would also like to maintain cordial relations with the US. We have stayed engaged with the US and are working on to build convergences and addressing divergences.
As for India, the Envoys Conference noted that India's policy of not engaging in a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan was not conducive for peace in South Asia. The Conference spent considerable time on the grim situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and Indian brutality after 8th July. The Conference emphasized the indigenous character of the movement in Kashmir and condemned the atrocities being committed by the Indian forces on unarmed and innocent Kashmiris. Pakistan, it has emphasized, continue to extend full diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris movement for self determination. The Conference discussed a number of diplomatic initiatives being taken. In this regard, Pakistan should invite India for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Our Foreign Secretary would formally be writing to his counterpart in this regard.
The Conference noted that Pakistan has made remarkable progress in fighting terrorism which has received worldwide recognition. Certain countries seem to be creating a negative narrative which will be deterred, rejected and countered.
The Conference noted that there was full consensus in Pakistan that the peace in Afghanistan is in our national interest. We should, therefore, continue to work for peace in Afghanistan, effective border management and continued efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. It was agreed to intensify engagement with Afghanistan at all level to address each other concern and to build on points of convergence.
Detailed guidelines are now being prepared to implement the recommendations emerging from the Conference.
The second item in today's briefing is an update on Pakistan's application for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
As you are aware, Pakistan is one of the applicants, along with India, for this membership, even though both have not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Our application for NSG is based on: (i) desire to strengthen global non-proliferation regimes; (ii) the need for strategic stability and level playing field in South Asia; (iii) our priority for socio-economic development and technological advancement of the country; and (iv) capability to supply items on NSG lists Part1 and 2.
While Pakistan's formal application for NSG membership was submitted on 19 May 2016, we had been preparing for it for quite some time. Our efforts to upgrade our export controls, nuclear safety and security long pre-date our application.
Even prior to the formal filing of our NSG application, we have been undertaking extensive diplomatic efforts to win support for our bid for mainstreaming in the multilateral export control regimes. This issue has been a feature of our bilateral visits and regular bilateral dialogues with all important countries.
Our strong lobbying efforts have yielded positive results. Our arguments for criteria-based approach, and the impact of any India-specific exemption on the strategic stability in South Asia and on the future of non-proliferation regime, have been accepted by several NSG countries.
Pakistan is confident of the merits of its membership application. Our export controls are fully harmonized with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Australia Group. We have taken extensive measures to strengthen nuclear safety and security. More recently, Pakistan has taken three significant steps i.e. (i) public statement on nuclear test moratorium, (ii) ratification of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and (iii) declaring adherence to NSG Guidelines.
Pakistan is committed not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states or assist others to acquire nuclear weapons. Pakistan's Policy Guidelines on Strategic Export Controls require requisite safeguards on all relevant material in a recipient state. This implies comprehensive safeguards requirement for all states which have a legal obligation to apply such safeguards. Pakistan has also consistently supported the goal of a nuclear weapons free world through the commencement of negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the Conference on Disarmament. It may also be noted that the measures put in place by Pakistan are consistent with the Articles I, III.2 and VI of NPT as well as the objectives that the NSG has sought to promote.
Pakistan has consistently supported the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). We voted for the Treaty when it was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1996. We have declared a unilateral moratorium on further testing. Pakistan is prepared to consider translating its unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India.
The issue of NSG membership cannot be separated from the consideration of strategic stability in the region. In 2008, the NSG missed an opportunity to promote simultaneous adherence to non-proliferation benchmarks by Pakistan and India, as a part of a package deal, which would have promoted restraint and stability in the region.
Pakistan hopes that on the question of membership, established NSG procedures and modalities for discussions would not be bypassed, once again, to rush a country-specific waiver that disregards non-proliferation objectives.
Pakistan's NSG membership will further NSG non-proliferation objectives by the inclusion of a state with nuclear supply capabilities and its adherence to NSG Guidelines and best practices on supply of controlled items, goods, materials, technologies and services.
Being fossil fuel deficient, as well as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change, Pakistan is compelled to increase the percentage of clean energies, including nuclear energy, in the national energy mix. Pakistan's Energy Security Plan includes a Nuclear Power Programme, which envisages substantial increase in nuclear energy by 2050 to respond to the future requirements of a growing population and economy. The implementation of the programme will offer opportunities for cooperation at the international level under IAEA safeguards. Pakistan looks forward to the removal of barriers for gaining equitable access to international civil nuclear cooperation for mutual benefit.
We will continue to project Pakistan's solid credentials based on its technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security.
We are formally inviting NSG Troika to visit Pakistan for a detailed briefing on our credentials. Moreover, we welcome any opportunity to engage bilaterally with interested NSG countries for a detailed presentation on the merits of our application.