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Senate panel seeks energy accords with India, China

Such a move would give oil consuming nations more leverage during international oil supply, says Lugar.

world Updated: Mar 29, 2007 09:09 IST

Administration has been asked to expand international energy crisis response mechanisms,including through formal agreements with India and China

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved two measures seeking formal agreements with India and China on international energy crisis response mechanisms and engaging them in a dialogue on climate change.

The first measure, an energy diplomacy bill approved on Wednesday asks the Administration to expand international energy crisis response mechanisms, including through formal agreements with India and China.

"Such a move would give oil consuming nations more leverage and flexibility during international oil supply disruptions and help stabilise world oil markets," according to the bill's mover Dick Lugar, Republican leader ranking of the panel.

The second measure, a climate change resolution introduced by Lugar with the panel's Democratic chairman Joe Biden calls for the United States to return to international negotiations on climate change.

"It is critical that the international dialogue on climate change and American participation in those discussions move beyond the disputes over the Kyoto Protocols," Lugar said.

"We need to include India, China and other developing nations in a dynamic dialogue, and recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach is not workable," he said.

The "Energy Diplomacy and Security Act" calls on the Administration to invigorate existing bilateral energy partnerships and seek new ones with key producing and consuming countries, placing a special emphasis on increasing the use of sustainable energy sources.

It also calls on the administration to weave a more reliable energy security fabric within the Western hemisphere, working more closely with Canada and Latin America on emergency preparedness, conservation, sustainable energy, and energy access for the poor.

"America's quest for energy security must include a vigorous global component. The geopolitics of energy today require bold international partnerships to blunt the ability of producer states to use energy as a weapon, to increase our own security of supply and to reduce the vulnerability of our economy to high oil prices," said Lugar.

Specifically, the bill bolsters the State Department's capability to integrate energy security needs into US diplomatic activities.

It creates a Coordinator for International Energy Affairs within the Office of the Secretary of State that would be charged with ensuring energy security is integrated into State Department activities and to liase with other federal agencies.

Lugar said at his urging, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has already begun implementing provisions of the bill.