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Bolton: Pakistan nuke security top concern

Nov. 12, 2007 at 12:18 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says ensuring the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal ought to be a priority, CNN reports.

Speaking Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer," Bolton said he would urge the United States to continue to support Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf despite the emergency declaration in Pakistan because of concerns the nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of Islamic radicals.

Bolton said Musharraf is in a difficult spot, as even his military is filled with Islamic fundamentalists in lower ranks. He said U.S. officials should consider going beyond democratizing Pakistan.

"I'd have to put securing those weapons at the top of our agenda," Bolton said.

Richard Holbrooke, U.N. envoy during the Clinton administration, told CNN, "We don't want to see Pakistan, with its bombs, fall into the hands of people like (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad and the mullahs."

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who is seeking his party's nomination for president, said the issue is important but not in the immediate future.

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Pakistan's nuclear weapons are secure, the report said.

"That nuclear arsenal is, one, dispersed, and second, carefully guarded by the army," he said.

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