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Pakistan says NY Times story on nuclear arms "distorted"
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09:46, November 20, 2007

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A story run by the New York Times last Sunday, claiming that the U.S. government had spent a huge amount of money on secretly aiding Pakistan in securing its nuclear weapons, were "distorted and exaggerated," the Pakistani government has said in a statement.

"The story titled 'U.S. Secretly Aids Pakistan in Guarding Nuclear Arms' gives a distorted and exaggerated picture of our efforts to learn from best practices of other countries with regard to their nuclear safety and export controls," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

The story published by the U.S. newspaper claimed the U.S. government has, over the past six years, spent almost 100 million U.S. dollars on a highly classified program to help Pakistan secure its nuclear weapons.

"The aid, buried in secret portions of the federal budget, paid for the training of Pakistani personnel in the United States and the construction of a nuclear security-training center in Pakistan," the report said.

The foreign ministry spokesman said Monday it was in everyone's interest to ensure that the best possible procedures are in place in nuclear security.

"Pakistan and the United States have been engaged in mutually agreeable cooperation which is essentially in the nature of rudimentary training and ideas to strength security and surveillance," he said, adding that Pakistan, as a responsible nuclear power, has always attached great significance to the security of its strategic assets.

The assets "are completely safe and secure under multi-layered security and Command and Control structures that are fully indigenous," he said.

Pakistan authorities, during briefings to the media and the parliament, had been talking about this matter and there was nothing sensational about the cooperation, as the NYT story appeared to imply, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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