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US eyes N-deal before summer recess

Washington has tied up loose ends in the nuke deals, writes S Rajagopalan.

india Updated: May 28, 2006 03:02 IST

Having tied up “a couple of loose ends” in negotiations with India, the Bush administration is exuding confidence that it can move forward with consideration of the legislation on nuclear deal before the summer recess by July-end.

“There is a lot of activity up on the Hill right now, but it is our hope that we can move forward with consideration of legislation this spring and summer,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

The House of Representatives will go into a month-long summer recess from July 31, while the Senate's will begin on August 7. In between, there will be two other week-long adjournments. The first of this — the Memorial Day recess — has commenced and the two Houses will reconvene on June 5. The second will be the Independence Day recess in early July.

Commenting on the talks between Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran in London this week, he said: “I think that they were able to tie up a couple of loose ends concerning things that the Indian Government owed the United States in order to really move forward on this deal.”

“Our hope is that we can work with the Congress on the structure of the legislation in such a way that they're comfortable, answer their questions that they may have about the legislation, and then work through these issues this spring and summer,” he said in the context of some discordant noises on the Hill over the deal.

As he put it, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the White House are “deeply involved” in trying to move the process forward on the Hill. “We think it's an important deal: it's good for the US, it's good for India, it's good for the world.”