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N-deal: India says negotiation on reprocessing to take time

world Updated: Nov 24, 2009 12:34 IST

India on Tuesday said it is not looking at finalising negotiations with the US on a pact on reprocessing of spent fuel, a key step in implementation of the nuclear deal, during summit talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama in Washington.

"As far as arrangements for reprocessing talks are concerned these are ongoing. We are not looking at finalising them tomorrow in any case," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters, hours ahead of Singh-Obama talks at the White House.

"This is an ongoing process, as I mentioned to you, these talks have progressed well," Rao said when asked about the progress of the negotiations on reprocessing facilities, which many were expecting to be concluded during the summit.

There are a number of issues that are being discussed between the two sides, she said.

"Our experts have been engaged very intensively in these discussions and I am happy to report that much progress has been made and we would be finalising these issues very shortly," Rao said.

India so far has had several rounds of negotiations with the US – the first two being in Vienna and the rest in Washington -- on reprocessing agreement on spent nuclear fuel, which constitutes a significant part of the 123 agreement.