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US consulting India-Pak to commence negotiations of FMCT

US consulting India-Pak to commence negotiations of FMCT

Washington: The United States is consulting with key nuclear powers along with India and Pakistan on ways to commence negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), a US official said.

The FMCT is a proposed international treaty, prohibiting further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices.

Pakistan is the only country that has been blocking repeatedly the start of the FMCT negotiations, frustrating the International Community.

"The United States is consulting with China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom, as well as others, including India and Pakistan, to find a way to commence negotiations of an FMCT," Frank A Rose, Deputy Assistant-Secretary of State for Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said.

Rose yesterday said that initiating multilateral negotiations on the FMCT is priority objective for the United States and for the vast majority of states.

He said that the US has been working to initiate such negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

"An overwhelming majority of nations support the immediate commencement of FMCT negotiations," Rose said.

US President Barack Obama had in Berlin called on all nations to start negotiations on a treaty that ends the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

"A Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty or FMCT would codify an end to the production of weapons-grade fissile material needed to create nuclear weapons, cap stockpiles worldwide, and provide the basis for further, deeper, reductions in nuclear arsenals," Obama had said in his remarks.

Earlier in 2009, Rose said that the five nuclear-weapon states, or "P5," began to meet regularly for discussions on issues of transparency, mutual confidence, and verification.

Since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference of 2010, these discussions have expanded to address P5 implementation of their (the P5 nations) commitments under the NPT and the 2010 Review Conference Action Plan.

Russia hosted the most recent P5 conference in Geneva in April 2013, where the P5 reviewed progress towards fulfilling the commitments made at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

They continued discussions on issues related to all three pillars of the NPT: nonproliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including confidence- building, transparency, and verification experiences.

"We are looking forward to continued discussions at a fifth P5 conference in 2014," Rose said.

"In addition to providing a senior level policy forum for discussion and coordination among the P5, this process has spawned a series of discussions among policymakers and government experts on a variety of issues," he said.

"The P5 are discussing approaches to a common format for NPT reporting, and we are also beginning to engage at expert levels on some important verification and transparency issues. As we proceed, we would like the P5 conferences and intersessional meetings to develop further practical transparency measures that build confidence and predictability," Rose said.

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