Saturday, October 28, 2000, updated at 21:10(GMT+8)

No Decision yet on Timeframe of Signing CTBT: Pakistan FM

Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar Saturday said that Pakistan has taken no decision on the time-frame of signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Replying to a question about Pakistan's stance on CTBT, he told a press conference in the southern port city of Karachi that the CTBT is a good treaty and it is in Pakistan's interest to sign it.

As usual, the foreign minister explained the delay in signing CTBT as the desire of the Pakistani government to build up consensus in favor of the treaty.

He said there has been clear indications that signing of the treaty will be welcomed by Pakistan's friends and specially those countries that have provided assistance to the South Asian country which exploded its nuclear devices in 1998.

Sattar said Japan is on the record to the effect that if Pakistan signs the CTBT, it will resume bilateral cooperation.

Japan's assistance to Pakistan, which had been around 400 million or 500 million dollars a year, was suspended after Pakistan's nuclear tests.

Similarly the European countries have indicated that they would review their policy and resume economic cooperation with Pakistan, Sattar added.

However, the foreign minister pointed out that it is not because Pakistan wants to obtain economic aid and sign treaty only for that. "We have examined the treaty on the basis of its own merit and we have reached the conclusion that signing the treaty will be in the interest of Pakistan."

"It will be along with the ability to build domestic consensus that will decide the question of signing of CTBT by Pakistan," he concluded.