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Pakistan nuclear tests



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MEDIA RELEASE MlNISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

PAKISTAN NUCLEAR TESTS

FA 65 28 MAY 1998

I strongly condemn the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan today. I will be announcing tomorrow the measures Australia will take in response to Pakistan’s nuclear tests.

As with the tests conducted by India, Pakistan’s actions have serious implications for global and regional security and fly in the face of the international norm against nuclear weapons testing.

Pakistan’s decision to test has been made in spite of the strong international condemnation of India’s tests and direct pleas to Pakistan by Australia and other members of the international community to exercise restraint and not to emulate India’s regrettable example.

A nuclear arms race in South Asia will exacerbate rather than solve regional security tensions. Pakistan and India should both sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty immediately, and should throw their weight behind international efforts to achieve a fissile material cut-off treaty.

I will contact the Pakistani High Commissioner tomorrow to convey to him Australia’s deep disappointment and regret and to urge his Government to desist from any further testing. The same message will be registered by our High Commission in Islamabad.

Pakistan’s actions will in no way weaken Australia’s determination, shared by the vast majority of Governments and peoples throughout the world, to see an end to the era of nuclear weapons. We will continue vigorously to pursue this objective, and to urge Pakistan and India to join the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Further information: Innes Willox 0411 414 695