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Washington rules of renegotiation on deal

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discusses N-deal with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

world Updated: Oct 30, 2007 04:16 IST

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday spoke to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee over telephone on bilateral nuclear deal as Washington ruled out renegotiation of the agreement.

During the conversation, Rice conveyed to Mukherjee that the US was keen on moving ahead with the civilian nuclear deal, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

The spokesman said the civilian nuclear deal was the "primary" focus of the telephone conversation between Rice and Mukherjee.

<b1>Asked if Rice is "still hopeful" of the accord that has run into political trouble in India, McCormack said "she (Rice) still supports it going forward. We have conveyed that to the Indian government at a number of different levels.

"They (Indian leaders)'re working through some domestic politics. I know that there is an intense debate within India, right now, concerning the civil nuclear deal with the United States.

"The Indian people and the Indian political system are going to have to work out whatever resolution of that debate there will be. But we continue to urge the Indian government to move forward with this deal. And we are prepared to move forward with it as well" McCormack said.

Rice underlined to Mukherjee "the same points that we can continue to support the agreement, continue moving forward with the agreement" the spokesman said.

He said the resolution to the political discussions in India are for the Indian political system to resolve....We continue to support moving forward with the agreement".

McCormack ruled out any possibility of a renegotiation of the deal.

" I don't believe that there's any consideration of that or any discussion of that on either side at this point", McCormack said making the point that at this stage the United States cannot do anything to help with the process and it is really a matter for India to resolve the questions.

"... At this point, I believe it's really a matter for the Indian political system to resolve their questions about it. And whatever that resolution is, it's going to be up to them...Whichever way they decide to go".