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US does not consider nuclear deal 'dead'

The Bush admn says it is "never" going to declare the stalled pact "dead" since the deal is considered "critically important".

world Updated: Apr 30, 2008 03:51 IST

As uncertainty loomed over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, the Bush Administration said it is "never" going to declare the stalled pact "dead" since the deal is considered "critically important".

Washington also voiced optimism over the deal clearing the hurdles at IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers' Group but felt the "main stumbling block" was the internal political process in India, in an apparent reference to strong Left opposition.

"We are never going to declare it (nuke deal) dead because we think it's critically important," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino Perino said at her briefing.

Perino made the statement when she was asked to comment on a perception in some quarters that the deal may be dead for reasons including the scarce time left to get the approval of the US Congress.

"Well, I just want to remind - you often want me to say whether or not we think that this deal is dead," White House Perino told the reporter who referred to the perception.

"We are appreciative that the Indians are reconsidering their position, that they continue to have dialogue about it," Perino said.

"And the fact that they are here in Washington talking about it is a good sign," she said referring to the recent visit of Abhishek Singhvi, spokesman of Congress party. Singvi had meetings with Administration officials and US lawmakers to brief them on the circumstances that has come in the way of progress of the deal.

Perino's remarks also came shortly after a senior official said it it was "definitely feasible'" to push the remaining steps on the nuclear deal with India for implementation if India approved the historic 123 agreement finalised last year.