‘Nothing new,’ White House says on Biden’s nuke remarks

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‘Nothing new,’ White House says on Biden’s nuke remarks

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, on September 23, 2022. — Reuters
  • White House defends United States President Joe Biden’s remarks.
  • “He’s made those comments before, so that is nothing new.”
  • Biden alleged that Pakistan’s nuclear programme lacks “cohesion”.

OREGON: The White House has said that US President Joe Biden’s remarks pertaining to Pakistan’s nuclear programme were “nothing new” as he has made such comments before.

The President of the United States had earlier alleged that Pakistan’s nuclear programme lacks “cohesion” and that it was among the world’s most dangerous nations.

In response to a question during a press gaggle on Friday, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden views a secure and prosperous Pakistan as critical to US interests.

“So that is something [about what his views have] been on Pakistan,” the press secretary said. “More specifically he’s made those comments before, so that is nothing new — what you heard from him last night.”

Defending Biden’s remarks, the press secretary said that Biden believes in a secure and prosperous Pakistan, and so he thinks that’s “important to US interests”.

Pakistan demarches US envoy

The US president’s remarks drew strong criticism from Pakistan, with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemning the statement.

The prime minister, in a statement earlier today, said: “Pakistan rejects the remarks reportedly made by the US President, which are factually incorrect and misleading.”

Hours before the prime minister’s statement, FM Bilawal said that Pakistan is fully capable of safeguarding its nuclear weapons, and the country meets every international standard in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Pakistan is adamant about ensuring its integrity and safety. Security questions, if any, should be raised on the nuclear weapons of India that recently fired a missile into Pakistani territory by accident.”

Later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) handed a “strong” demarche to US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome.

Acting Foreign Secretary Jauhar Saleem called in the US ambassador to deliver the demarche, the ministry said, adding that Pakistan’s disappointment and concern were conveyed to the US envoy on the unwarranted remarks.

The remarks, a statement from the ministry mentioned, were not based on ground reality or facts.

The secretary made it clear that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and its impeccable stewardship of the nuclear program and adherence to global standards and international best practices was well acknowledged, including by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“It was essential to maintain the positive trajectory of Pakistan-US relations and the close cooperation between the two sides to build regional and global peace,” the ministry added. 

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