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DoD News Briefing


Wednesday, October 20, 1999
Presenter: Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

USIA Foreign Press Center

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QThe last time we spoke about was India and Pakistan nuclear program, at the Pentagon. Now the situation has changed of course: elections in India, the largest democracy in the world; and next door Pakistan again, democracy was killed by a military ruler.

Number one, how do you view the U.S. and Pakistan relations, military to military, today? And also if the Pentagon favors -- administration's willing -- waiver -- military waiver -- some of the military sales to the dictator in Pakistan?

And what do you think, the future?

MR. BACON: Okay.

First of all, we have made it very clear to the Musharraf government in Pakistan that we support a quick return to democracy. And I think that every statement that's been made by President Clinton and everybody else in the government has stressed that.

Second, we have almost no military-to-military relationship with Pakistan. And we have not had much of a relationship since 1990 because of the terms of the Pressler amendment.

The Pressler amendment required us to cut back on military-to-military relationships unless the president, then-President Bush, could certify that Pakistan was not working on nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, both India and Pakistan were working on nuclear weapons.

But as a result of the Pressler amendment, we cut back dramatically on our military-to-military relationship. So we have almost no military-to-military relationship with Pakistan now. In fact, I don't believe there are any programs, exchanges or -- official sales under way at this time, and I don't think there have been for some time.

QJust a quick one to follow.

MR.: (Inaudible) -- the microphone.

MR. BACON: Where is the microphone?

MS. RANSOM: No, the microphone is way over here.

Q (Inaudible.)

QSome unknown official in the State Department suggested that President Clinton who has powers now -- (inaudible) -- given by this Congress; in return to democracy or civilian rule in Pakistan, U.S. should sell some of the arms to the dictator -- I mean, in return, in exchange for civilian rule, which I think he may try under the -- (inaudible) -- that he will be ruler but he may bring some of the civilians in the government?

MR. BACON: Well -- because this State Department official is unnamed -- I of course don't know who it is -- (laughter) -- or exactly what he said -- and I think it would be better not to comment on it.

But I am not aware of any movement right now to resume arms sales to Pakistan.