Aziz dials more foreign ministers ahead of NSG meet

Islamabad, June 16 (IANS) Continuing its diplomatic efforts to muster support for NSG membership, Pakistan on Thursday sought a “non-discriminatory approach” if non-NPT states, including Islamabad and New Delhi, wanted to join the 48-member NSG.

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s foreign affairs advisor, made telephone calls to Foreign Ministers Sebastian Kurz of Austria and Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey and demanded support for its application to the bloc.

The appeal came ahead of the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s next plenary scheduled on June 23-24 in Seoul when the applications for membership of Pakistan and India are to be taken up.

Aziz thanked Turkey for its stand that the application of both Pakistan and India should be considered simultaneously.

He thanked Cavusoglu for the “principled position adopted by Turkey” at the June 9-10 Vienna meeting.

Aziz also spoke to Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra.

Both India and Pakistan filed their applications in May to enter the nuclear cartel that controls global nuclear trade. Pakistan is opposed to India alone being made a member of the NSG.

The Vienna meeting remained inconclusive on India’s membership bid despite the US strongly pushing its case and with most member countries supporting New Delhi.

However, China opposed India’s bid arguing that the NSG should not relax specific criteria for new applicants. The NSG controls access to sensitive nuclear technology.

Pakistan’s continuing diplomatic outreach for pushing its NSG membership comes even as a leading and influential Chinese daily on Thursday said that Beijing could support New Delhi’s entry into the NSG if it promises to comply with stipulations over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

As India has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), it was not fit to get into the NSG, the daily said.

“Beijing welcomes New Delhi playing a role as a major power in global governance, including producing positive effect in a nuclear non-proliferation organization,” said the commentary by Fu Xiaoqiang of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Commentaries in the English-language Global Times are generally known to reflect the views of the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

–IANS

ahm/rn/mr

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