It is in Pakistan's interests to sign the nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said Saturday.
He told a news conference that signing the treaty would remove difficulties holding up economic assistance from abroad.
"We have examined the treaty and reached the conclusion that it is in Pakistan's interest to sign it," he said.
"CTBT safeguards Pakistan's interest."
He said CTBT signing would be welcomed by the world and that Japan as well as European countries would then resume full economic co-operation with Pakistan.
Japan suspended multi-million dollar annual lending to Pakistan after it conducted nuclear tests in May 1998 in response to atomic detonations by regional rival India.
Sattar said the government was striving to achieve a national consensus on the issue of signing the test ban treaty, but gave no timeframe for completing the process.
He said Pakistan would maintain its moratorium on further nuclear tests.
"We will not be the first to resume nuclear testing."
He said Islamabad desired good neighborly relations with India but New Delhi was not giving a positive response.
Sattar said the Pakistan-India dispute over Kashmir, the divided Himalyan state claimed by both countries, should be settled in accordance with 1948-49 United Nations resolutions which envisaged a referendum in the territory.
He accused India of committing atrocities against Kashmiris.
Sattar said "growing Indo-Israeli co-operation" was a matter of concern for Pakistan.
"It is not surprising because both India and Israel are engaged in a policy of oppression against people who are striving for their universally accepted rights," he said, referring to Palestinians and Kashmiris.
He said the next summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Qatar November 12-14 would examine in depth the challenges confronting the Islamic world, including Israeli actions against Palestinians and Indian "excesses" in Kashmir -- KARACHI (AFP)
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