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Great progress in 123 agreement talks: US

world Updated: Apr 18, 2007 02:12 IST
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Seeking to play down reports that the US is unhappy with the slow pace of movement in the 123 nuclear agreement talks with India, a State Department official has said "great progress" has been made up to this point and that subsequent negotiations would have to sort through serious issues.

The Bush administration is also making the point that negotiation is all about give and take and that Washington has been both flexible and a good negotiating partner in the process.

"...We have made great progress in, to this point, fundamentally changing the relationship between the United States and India on the issue of nuclear power. Those were tough negotiations. I think on both sides they would agree, however, that we came up with a good solution, an equitable solution," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington.

"Now, subsequent to those negotiations you had to have some other implementing steps that need to take place; for example, the negotiation of the so-called 123 Agreement which refers to the section of the Atomic Energy Act. Those negotiations are ongoing right now and our negotiators have, we think, put out some serious ways to come to a successful conclusion of the negotiations" he added.

"I think we've outlined a pathway in order to achieve our mutual objective. And we'll see how the Indian government reacts to that. There are currently discussions that are ongoing now and we'll see," McCormack said.

"I think we'll have a good idea in the not too distant future how the Indian government is going to react to some of those suggestions and we'll have a good idea of how quickly we might be able to conclude the agreement, which is really going to be crucial to fully implementing the US-India," he said.

It is also "crucial to India realising a different kind of relationship with the rest of the international system
concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy", he added.

McCormack was also asked to comment on media reports that there are some demands that Washington is not happy with and those could make the whole deal break.

"... A negotiation is about give and take, and we understand that. There are some areas that - by which we are restricted under the law and I think the Indian government needs to appreciate that. But we have sought to be flexible and we have sought to be a good negotiating partner, and I think the record will show that," he said.