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US to thrash out pending issues

The Bush administration has said it will work with Congress to resolve ?a couple of remaining issues? in the legislation.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2006 02:54 IST

Even as the Indo-US nuclear deal is reckoned to be on course to win the floor vote in both Houses by July-end, the Bush administration has said it will work with Congress to resolve “a couple of remaining issues” in the legislation.

While declining to spell out the issues, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said on Friday that the administration was confident of resolving them in line with the India-US joint statements of July 2005 and March 2006.

“Discussions are ongoing... we're confident it will end up positive,” he said hours after US Ambassador David Mulford indicated in New Delhi that lawmakers would be requested to make some changes, apparently to certain references in the bills that are not to India's liking. 

Ereli said, “There might be... there will be some, probably, changes based on consultation with those two chambers. There are a couple of remaining issues to be addressed.”

“We think we'll be able to do that without reopening or ... reopening the whole process or changing the path that has been outlined so far,” Ereli said but declined to say if the matter at issue related to safeguards or some other hurdles. 

Political observers here believe the ringing endorsement and the announcement of several lawmakers to co-sponsor the legislation have boosted the chances of the pact making it to the crowded July agenda of the two Houses, which reconvene on July 10 after a 10-day recess. 

With 15 working for the House and 20 for the Senate before they head into a month-long summer recess in August, Indian and US officials are keen to clinch the deal at the earliest.