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Volume 2, Issue 11
Sunday, May 17, 1998
BIRMINGHAM - The ball is in Pakistan's court. And the G8 leaders are anxiously awaiting to see what Pakistan will do in the wake of India's recent nuclear testing.
In the meantime, the G8 leaders have been desparately trying to dissuade Pakistan from proceeding with its own nuclear tests, which Pakistan has been threatening to do as early as Sunday.
"We call upon and encourage Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint in the face of these tests and to adhere to international non-proliferation norms," says the official statement by the G8 countries at the Birmingham Summit.
In fact, Japan is whisking an envoy to Pakistan tomorrow to reiterate this message in person to Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.
But behind the official party line being disseminated in the briefings is a sobering reality. Pakistan will without a doubt proceed with nuclear testing on Sunday regardless of what the G8 leaders say or do, says a senior Italian official. A senior Canadian official also expressed a similar sentiment.
The G8 leaders were quick to condemn India. But the more critical issue at this stage is the danger of nuclear proliferation in South Asia and elsewhere. All the more reason for the G8 leaders to urge India to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
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