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Burns presses for speedy Nuclear deal approval

world Updated: Jul 31, 2008 16:04 IST

Nicholas Burns, who played a key role in clinching the Indo-US nuclear deal, has pressed the IAEA, NSG and the Congress to swiftly put its stamp of approval on it to send a strong message to countries like Iran "to play by the rules" and for strengthening the non-proliferation regime.

"My conviction is that this deal strengthens the non proliferation regime...It makes India a stakeholder," said the former Under Secretary of State of Political Affairs.

"I am for this agreement because it is good for both countries.... The civilian nuclear deal is a symbolic centerpiece of the bilateral relations," said the former Bush administration official who played a key role in the passing of the Hyde Act in December 2006 by the Congress and in the negotiations leading to the conclusion of the 123 Agreement.

In his formal remarks, Burns argued that the nuclear deal is good for American businesses, for the environment and above all sends an "important" message to countries like Iran.

"If you play by the rules.... There will be benefits," the former senior official reminded Tehran during a panel debate on nuclear agreement at the Brookings Institution.

Burns, who stepped down in March and was appointed as a special envoy to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the deal, also stressed that the United States has in place "the right measures to protect" its interests by retaining the right to terminate the agreement.

He asserted that the 123 Agreement is "absolutely" consistent with the Hyde Act.