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N-deal may be finalised after Bush's India visit

Washington has said that there are a few issues that remain barriers as regards the nuclear deal.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 15:37 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Indicating that the Indo-US nuclear deal may not be finalised by the time President George W Bush visits India in March, Washington has said there are a "few issues" that remain "barriers".

"I think we've made some progress. I think we need to see further progress. There are a few issues," US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told reporters on Friday.

"And I shouldn't go into them because they should remain confidential, but remain barriers to an agreement. I don't believe they're insuperable."

"...My assessment, and I'm the one negotiating this for six months, is that we're very close to an agreement. Oftentimes in negotiations when you get to the end, some of the most difficult issues arise," he said when asked about the deal reached between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bush on July 18 last year.

Asked if the agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation would be ready by the time Bush visited India, Burns said, "It is very hard to say."

"Our hope has been that we'll be able to conclude a bilateral agreement on civil nuclear cooperation...That would happen as soon as possible," he said.

And that might happen before the President's visit. That remains our plan and I have been in touch with the Indian government this week," he added.

Referring to the controversy over the comments of US Ambassador David Mulford, Burns said the envoy's remarks were "blown out of proportion."

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 15:37 IST