Washington, July 17 — The United States has flatly denied “rumours” from Islamabad that it had discussed the possibility of civil nuclear energy cooperation with Pakistan, but said it was supportive of Islamabad’s efforts with its energy problems.
“We’d seen those rumours, but I can confirm there was no discussion of civilian nuclear technology,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters Wednesday when asked about such reports from Islamabad citing official source.
“For further discussions, I’d direct you to the Government of Pakistan and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which is a government agency on our side. But there was no discussion of civil nuclear technology,” he said.
Asked if the US was considering that (nuclear energy) as an option to address Pakistan’s energy situation, Ventrell repeated: “Again, I confirm – can confirm there was no discussion of it here. “I don’t have anything for you on it.”
“But broadly speaking, you know that we’ve been supportive of efforts with Pakistan’s energy problems and much of the aid that the US has provided and the expertise and technology and know-how,” he said.
“That has not been a topic of discussion,” Ventrell said for the third time when asked if the US was ruling out such discussions between US and Pakistan towards civil nuclear cooperation.
Asked to comment on reports that Pakistan’s new government is planning to import energy from India, the spokesman said: “Anything that makes relations better between Pakistan and India is a good thing.”
“We welcome anything that warms the relationship. If it’s in the energy or economic sector, that’s good, but otherwise as well,” he said.
In the past too, the US has consistently rebuffed Pakistan’s plea for a nuclear energy agreement akin to the landmark US-India civil nuclear energy deal.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])