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|July 14, 1998||
Arafat backs Pak nuclear tests
Palestianian President Yasser Arafat on Monday supported Pakistan's nuclear tests, saying, "If Israel possesses nuclear weapons then why cannot Pakistan have the nuclear capability?"
Addressing the media at Islamabad airport during his brief stopover before leaving for Beijing, Arafat said, "Arab and Muslim countries backed Pakistan for its nuclear tests." There was a very positive and strong reaction from the Muslim world to Pakistan's nuclear tests, he added.
Arafat disapproved of sanctions against Pakistan, and said these curbs could not sustain for a long time. Islamic countries, he said, will extend assistance to Pakistan if these sanctions continued.
The Palestinian leader hoped that the meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief and his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Colombo, on the sidelines of the SAARC meeting later this month, would be useful and help reduce tensions. He called for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Kashmir and other issues between Pakistan and India.
Arafat recalled his mediation in 1972 which led to the signing of the historic Simla Agreement.
"You should not forget that I was the mediator in the Simla Agreement," he told reporters.
Asked about press reports on Indo-Israel military co-operation, he said, "I hope this will not be done."
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