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'It's now for US Congress to ratify N-deal'

New Delhi has also underlined that the Cong should clear the deal before it negotiates safeguards deal with the IAEA.
By Indo-Asian News Service | None, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 24, 2006 05:14 PM IST

As the talks between Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns begin in London on Wednesday evening, India has clarified that it was now the turn of US Congress to "ratify the civil nuclear energy deal."

"We are now interested in getting the agreement ratified by the Congress. From our side, whatever was to be done, we have done," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the sidelines of a defence seminar on Wednesday.

"Therefore, let the talks go on," he added.

When asked whether New Delhi would make concessions to Washington to implement the deal, Mukherjee said it would not be appropriate for him to comment when the two sides are engaged in talks to resolve all issues pertaining to the deal.

"What I am talking of...let us identify the areas, if there are, in which there are any disagreements."

"The talks are going on, so at this juncture to make any comments, it would be of interest to you but since I am in the government, I am interested in getting the deal through, keeping our interests, our national sovereign interests intact," he added.

India is optimistic about the US Congress clearing the legislation "sooner rather than later", official sources said.

New Delhi has also underlined that the Congress should clear the deal before it negotiates safeguards deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Unless there is a change in legislation and a change in the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an agreement on India-specific safeguards with the IAEA doesn't make sense," the sources said.

"Passing of the legislation will be the first order of business," they clarified.

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