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N-deal: US says is "fully prepared" to move forward

world Updated: Mar 28, 2008 18:31 IST
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The US has said it was "fully prepared" to move forward on the civilian nuclear agreement with India once New Delhi takes a decision on domestic political issues related to it.

".... They had a discussion about where we stand. We made it clear that we are fully prepared once the Indian Government has taken certain steps to submit the agreements to the Congress so that they can be passed," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said when asked about the talks between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee earlier this week.

Mukherjee wrapped up his two-day visit on Tuesday during which he held talks with President George W Bush and Rice. The Minister said the government was trying to build consensus on the deal as there were reservations from the Left and the BJP.

Though US lawmakers had been pressing on a July timeline, the White House said after the parleys that the deal had not reached a "now or never" stage.

"The Indian Government has some decisions to make and with respect to the agreement and its own domestic politics those are decisions only the Indian Government can take and solely for them," McCormack said.

He said the US was "still committed to doing what we can to move the agreement forward, but again the Indian Government is going to have to make some decisions for itself."

The spokesman also said that Afghanistan did not come up in the discussions between Rice and Mukherjee.

"... In the meetings that I attended, the issue of Afghanistan did not come up. Now, generally speaking we have encouraged all the countries in the region to do what they can to improve relations with one another, but also within the region."