Pakistan Asks US Ambassador to Explain a Biden Remark

President questioned nation's nuclear weapons safety
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2022 2:50 PM CDT
Pakistan Asks US Ambassador to Explain a Biden Remark
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari trade places to deliver remarks last month at the State Department.   (Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP)

Pakistan has questions about President Biden's comment that it's "maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world." Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Saturday he's called in US Ambassador Donald Blome in Islamabad for an explanation, Reuters reports. In a speech Thursday, Biden said the danger is that Pakistan has "nuclear weapons without any cohesion." Bhutto-Zardari said no US officials mentioned safety concerns when he was in Washington in September for meetings, some of which were at the State Department.

"As far as the question of the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear assets are concerned, we meet all—each and every—international standard," Bhutto-Zardari said during a press conference on Saturday. The Pakistan reference seemed to be an off-the-cuff remark while Biden was discussing foreign policy at a private Democratic Party fundraiser in California, per the Guardian, but it was included in a transcript later posted on the White House website. That's when Pakistan reacted. Bhutto-Zardari said that he recognized that Biden's talk wasn't exactly an address to Congress and that he didn't expect relations between the nations to suffer.

But he said he was surprised by Biden's statement. "We should allow them an opportunity to explain this position," the foreign minister said. Diplomatic relations have begun to improve lately, after longstanding tension over Pakistani support of the Taliban in Afghanistan, which Pakistan denies. The US also has concerns about Pakistan's ties to China. A major US push to get Pakistan to join the UN condemnation of Russian annexations of regions in Ukraine failed this week. Pakistan abstained from the vote, which passed with an overwhelming majority. (More President Biden stories.)

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