Pakistan lobbies with Mexico, Italy for NSG membership

**Islamabad:** Intensifying efforts to seek backing for its membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Pakistan’s top foreign advisor on Friday spoke to the Mexican and Italian foreign ministers — a day after both countries indicated support for India’s bid.

Sartaj Aziz, advisor to the Prime Minister on foreign affairs, had a word with Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Aziz, according to a statement here, highlighted Pakistan’s credentials for the NSG membership during his talks with both the ministers. Massieu expressed support for a “non-discriminatory approach on NSG expansion to non-NPT states”, the statement said.

Aziz and Gentiloni had a very “cordial exchange”, the ministry said in a tweet.

Pakistan has intensified its efforts to seek backing for its bid to the 48-nation bloc, which is holding an extraordinary plenary in Geneva from June 9-10 to take up applications for membership, including from India.

On Thursday, Mexico announced support for India’s membership to the NSG during talks between Mexican President Pena Nieto and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mexico City.

Pakistan has been lobbying hard to scuttle India’s NSG bid, saying that country-specific exemptions would be harmful to South Asia.

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