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Bush rules out nuclear deal with Pakistan

Written by: Staff

Islamabad, Mar 4 (UNI) US President George W Bush today virtually ruled out a deal for civilian nuclear energy cooperation with Pakistan on the lines of the Indo-US agreement and said Washington would continue to encourage India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

''Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories. So as we proceed forward, our strategy will take in effect those well-known differences,'' he told a questioner when asked if the US was considering a nuclear deal with Pakistan to meet the country's energy needs.

Mr Bush was interacting with media along with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf after wide-ranging talks between the two leaders at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The two leaders had a one-on-one meeting lasting about an hour before they were joined by their respective delegations.

''As to the civilian nuclear programme, first of all, I understand -- the President brought this issue up with me -- that Pakistan has got energy needs because of a growing economy. And he explained to me the natural gas situation here in the country. We understand you need to get natural gas in the region, and that's fine,'' he said.

He clarified that the US was not opposed to the proposed 7.2 billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

''Our beef with Iran is not the pipeline; our beef with Iran is the fact that they want to develop a nuclear weapon. And I believe a nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranians would be very dangerous for all of us...'' he said.

He said the...Eds pls pick up from line one, para six of DF 8 POLITICS-BUSH-THIRD LEAD-PAKISTAN UNI XC YA RR PM2150

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