United States hopes that the Group of Eight (G8) summit in July will issue a statement backing the Indo-US nuke deal that continues to divide the group, senior G8 diplomats said.
The deal, agreed in principle in 2005 to permit US civilian nuclear technology sales to India for the first time in three decades, has run into trouble in Washington where arms experts and some US lawmakers fear that it would reward India for rejecting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Washington hopes the deal would spark the lifting of an international ban on nuclear trade with India.
However, China, Japan and many of the 25 EU members have problems with the idea of rewarding India, EU diplomats said.
Efforts to persuade Iran to give up its uranium enrichment programme are also expected to be one of the main topics at the July 15-17 St Petersburg summit.
To boost the image of the nuclear deal, Washington is pushing G8 members to agree on a statement to be issued at the summit that is at least neutral in tone, senior G8 diplomats said.
"US, UK, France and Russia like the nuke deal, all others are either neutral or are against it. If the language is neutral, non-committal, you will know which side has prevailed," a Western G8 diplomat said.
Another G8 diplomat said that even a neutral statement could easily be marketed by the US government as a success.
The diplomats said that it was worth noting that the G8's four nuclear powers liked the deal while the others - Canada, Japan, Italy and Germany - are either opposed or neutral.