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Pakistan pleas for US "package approach" with India

Written by: Staff
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ISLAMABAD, Apr 4 (Reuters) Concerned over a US agreement to provide civilian nuclear technology to neighbouring India, Pakistan called on Washington today to adopt a ''package approach'' towards the two nuclear-armed rivals.

U.S. President George W Bush concluded a landmark nuclear accord with India during a visit to the South Asian states last month, but refused to cut a similar deal with Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri met US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher today. They discussed Pakistan's energy needs and its perspective on Washington's deal with New Delhi.

''He (Kasuri) underlined the need for a package approach that would prevent an arms race, promote restraint and address legitimate civil nuclear energy needs of Pakistan,'' a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in a global war on terrorism but remains under a cloud due to the role played by its top scientist in a nuclear black market scandal.

The disgraced scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, is under house arrest after he admitted two years ago that he sold nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and Libya. But Pakistan has barred U.S.

investigators from questioning the man revered as father of country's nuclear bomb.

REUTERS SBJ PC2156

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