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|July 23, 1998||
Talbott winds up talks in Pak with promise to meet again in August
Two days of talks between Pakistan and the United States on the prickly nuclear issue ended on Thursday with a promise to meet again in August in Washington.
US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott left the final round of talks with Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed, saying, ''The foreign secretary and I have been dealing with very, very tough issues that go to the very core of Pakistan's most vital national security interest.''
Neither side would elaborate on the talks, although government sources in Islamabad said Pakistan pressed for international mediation on the Kashmir dispute with India.
The United States, meanwhile, urged Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
In a brief statement on the steps of Pakistan's foreign ministry building, Talbott said the test ban treaty figured in negotiations, but neither he, nor Ahmed, would elaborate.
''It is not in the interest of our objectives... To give you a box score every time we meet,'' Talbott told reporters.
He said the fact the two sides are meeting again is a clear sign that ''we're not finished.''
Talbott's visit to India and Pakistan -- the world's newest nuclear states -- was an attempt to try to ease tensions in the region and encourage nuclear non-proliferation.
Pakistan has been particularly hard hit by the sanctions because of its heavy dependence on international loans, unlike India.
A US decision to support renewed talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund and to abstain on votes for aid to the cash-strapped country has been welcomed in Islamabad.
Talbott said the US is interested in the ''strength, prosperity, security and stability of a democratic Pakistan.''
But it also wants to see an ''enhancement of the global non-proliferation regime.'' The essence of the task at the negotiation table is to reconcile the two, he said.
The US also is hoping that the first face-to-face talks between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India on July 29 in Sri Lanka will move the region closer to stability.
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