US Senator urges Obama to safeguard Pak nukes

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Washington, May 9 (ANI): Republican Senator Richard Lugar has asked the Obama admisitration to apply Nunn-Lugar Bill to Pakistan, like it did with the former Soviet Union, to safeguard Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

Nunn-Lugar funds were committed for the first time outside of former Soviet territory to destroy 16 tons of chemical weapons in Albania. This authority can and should be used to expand significantly our cooperation with Pakistan in the nuclear arena as well as in other critical areas," The Nation quoted Lugar, as saying.

Lugar, who is now co-sponsoring a financial aid bill for Pakistan, recommended that cooperation with Pakistan under the program could also include its biological weapons.

"Pakistan has many dangerous diseases and pathogens under its control. The Nunn-Lugar program can help secure the pathogen strains to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands," he added.

Lugar's statement came after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari tried vigorously to convince Washington that his country's nuclear arsenal is in safe custody.

Lugar declined to approve of Zardari's assurance and has been pushing the Obama administration to act under the provisions of the Nunn-Lugar Act.

The Nunn-Lugar Act, initiated in 1991, established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program to provide US funding and expertise in assisting safeguarding and dismantling nuclear, chemical and biological weapons stockpiles in Soviet Union.

Under the act, more than 7,500 nuclear warheads, 2,000 missiles, and over 1,100 missile launchers in the former Soviet Republics of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus have been deactivated till now. (ANI)

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