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US says ready to push N-deal initiative

Delighted at UPA victory in the trust vote, the US said it is geared up to push the N-deal initiative and hoped the NSG meeting can be held in the 2nd week of August.

delhi Updated: Jul 25, 2008 12:23 IST

Delighted at UPA government's victory in the confidence motion, the US on Wednesday said it is geared up to push the civil nuclear initiative and hoped the NSG meeting can be convened in the second week of August so that the American Congress can have a final vote in September.

The US has begun lobbying for the initiative and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who is on a tour, will be talking to leaders of Australia, New Zealand and other countries to muster support among the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) members.

"A major event has taken place... It is important for India... We are delighted that this has taken place," US Ambassador David C Mulford said in a telephonic press conference from Ohio in the US while commenting on the confidence vote which the Manmohan Singh government won on Tuesday.

"We are ready to act," he said, adding the US "has been ready and is now geared up".

Talking about the time-frame involved in the process and efforts being made to meet it, Mulford said he was hopeful that after the meeting of IAEA Board of Governors on August one, the NSG would be convened "in a week or 10 days".

Mulford said it was important that the NSG meets at the earliest so that if some countries have some concerns and want a second meeting of the 45-nation grouping that too should be held in August.

The Ambassador stressed that the 123 Agreement should be submitted to the US Congress by early September so that the American legislature "can give some time and attention" before having the 'up and down' vote.

Acknowledging that some people in the US had reservations over the initiative, he expressed confidence that the deal would get "very strong" bipartisan support like the Hyde Act.

Asked about difficulties that could be foreseen at the IAEA, particularly considering Pakistan's reservations, Mulford hoped the country will be "cooperative" to the nuclear initiative for India.

"Pakistan is the particular issue to be addressed. We will do that. We hope they will see the right light and be cooperative," he said.

He also expressed confidence that China will have a "positive" approach at the NSG on the initiative.

"We have had conversation with China. China has agreed to review very carefully the necessary documentation when it is ready," he said, adding "I feel they will take the positive view in NSG."

Mulford, however, quickly added that he could not speak on behalf of China as that country was yet to make any formal announcement and it would be seen what position they adopt at NSG.