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|September 17, 1998||
No CTBT unless sanctions go, says Aziz
Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz today affirmed that Pakistan will not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty until and unless the economic sanctions and other restrictions imposed on it following the nuclear tests in May are lifted and its legitimate concerns are addressed to its satisfaction.
The special session of the National Assembly ended without the Nawaz Sharief government formally moving the resolution authorising it to negotiate and sign the CTBT after the opposition decided to boycott the sitting.
Winding up the four-day discussion on the subject this afternoon, Aziz affirmed that Pakistan is a nuclear power and its interests will be protected at all costs. He said signing the CTBT would not affect the country's nuclear capabilities.
He said the CTBT provides for not conducting nuclear tests, but if the situation changes and India conducts more nuclear tests, Pakistan can opt out of the treaty. He disclosed to the members of the assembly that there is no ban on conducting "cold" nuclear tests.
Aziz said Pakistan had restored the balance of power in South Asia by conducting its nuclear tests and the nuclear deterrent would be retained at all costs.
Assuring the members that their suggestions would guide the government in its negotiations on the issue, Aziz said the country would not bargain away its national interest.
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