Pakistan rejects IAEA's assertions on nuclear assets

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Islamabad, Jan 9 (UNI) Pakistan has firmly shot down the statement of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief about safety of its nuclear assets, saying that these are as secure as that of any other nuclear weapon state.

Reacting to the remarks by Dr ElBaradei that Pakistan's nuclear assets could fall into wrong hands, Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq told a press briefing that the country was in touch with the international nuclear watchdog over the matter.

He said the Foreign Office has already approached a senior official of the agency to express concern over the statement.

He added, as head of a UN body, Dr Baradei must remain within his mandate that is essentially concerned with the safeguarded facilities and not other issues. He said the IAEA chief should be careful about statements.

Mr Sadiq said Dr Baradei's remarks ignore the fact that the strategic assets of Pakistan were fully secure and under multi-layered safeguards and controls exercised by the National Command Authority.

The spokesman pointed out that on several occasions, the IAEA chief has been briefed on the structure and control mechanisms put in place to ensure complete safety of Pakistan's nuclear assets.

He added Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state and statements expressing concern about nuclear safety are unwarranted and irresponsible.

UNI XC SKB BD1733

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