Pakistan confirms Wikileaks claim of US nuclear appeals

November 29, 2010

BBC News

Foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said they rejected US attempts to have the highly enriched uranium removed.

The online whistle-blower also reveals unflattering comments about Pakistan’s President Asif Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

And more details emerge of an alleged CIA abduction of an innocent German.

Thousands of extracts from US diplomatic messages have been published by The New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Britain’s Guardian newspaper, German magazine Der Spiegel and others.

‘Untrustworthy and fickle’

The most alarm has been raised about suggestions the US had requested highly enriched uranium be handed over from Pakistan’s oldest nuclear reactor.

According to the leaked cables, US Ambassador Anne Patterson reportedly informed the state department in May 2009 that Pakistan was refusing to allow American technical experts to visit.

Islamabad foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said the leak was highly irresponsible.

But he confirmed that US authorities had asked for fuel to be returned from a reactor, citing security fears.

The facility is in Karachi and was built through the US Atoms for Peace programme under President Dwight Eisenhower.

Mr Basit told the BBC: “The US has been asking for the last two years that we should return the reactor and the fuel which had been given.

“We dismissed this, reiterating that the reactor was our property, so there was no question of it being returned.”

US officials have long expressed concern that Islamist militants in Pakistan could target the country’s nuclear programme in an attempt to get their hands on the materials to build their own bomb.

The BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says the Wikileaks disclosures also outline how the US continues to regard Pakistan as an untrustworthy and fickle ally.

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