'Congress to clear Indo-US N-deal by July end' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Congress to clear Indo-US N-deal by July end'

india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 10:27 IST

The United States Ambassador to India David Mulford expressed confidence that the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal that cleared the House and Senate Committees last month can be through Congress by the end of month or before lawmakers break away for their summer recess.

"The votes that have been accomplished in the committees thus far are very positive. There are very strong majorities and they are bi partisan. Secondly, we know that there are some outstanding issues that would have to be resolved between the two Bills. It is not unusual and that is a process that will be done in Conference," he said.

"We are aware of the provisions that trouble the Indian government and we will work where possible to address those issues. But bear in mind that of course the Congress of the United States is a sovereign body, a branch of our government. They have their own ideas about some of these things,so we have to work the process through and with India which is also a democracy," Mulford pointed out.

"The next phase... Is the floor votes that in effect will result in the change of law. The next step is to complete the 123 negotiations, the bilateral agreement...I would say that 60 per cent of the negotiations is accomplished. We have the balance it to do. That is a question of scheduling, bringing the people back together again which we hope will be done in the next week or so; and when that happens I look forward to the bulk of those issues being resolved in the next round.

"So I don't think it is impossible that we would be in a position to finish the 123 agreement within a period of weeks and then we would be able to move forward in the next phase. There is also the NSG, the IAEA -- those initiatives have to be completed as well and all these things will have to move together" he added.

"But I am convinced that the momentum is strong; but I would agree that there is a lot left to be done. It is important to keep at the process to make sure that it gets done. With the right will... This is a deal that can be completed," Mulford stressed.