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'Text of pact with IAEA can't be shared'

The government tells the Left the full text of the safeguards agreement is a confidential document which could not be shared with "third parties."
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2008 09:11 PM IST

The government on Tuesday justified its decision of not giving the Left parties the full text of the draft Safeguards Agreement reached with IAEA, saying that the confidential document could not be shared with "third parties" but noted that its summary had been made known to them.

In a quick response to points raised by CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat over the Safeguards Agreement with IAEA in a letter to him, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee wrote back saying that anybody wanting access to the text of the agreement would have had to join the government for it.

"We presented to the (UPA-Left) committee the outcome of the negotiations with the IAEA," Mukherjee said while pointing out that the matter was discussed during the panel's meetings on March 17, May 6 and June 25.

On Karat's complaint that the government refused to share full text of the safeguards agreement, the External Affairs Minister reminded him that it was a "privileged document held in confidence between government of India and the IAEA Secretariat".

The full text "could not be shared with third parties without going through laid down procedures of the IAEA," Mukherjee said in reply to Karat who complained that government had refused to present the complete text of the pact, making it difficult for the UPA-Left committee to reach any conclusion.

"It was for this purpose, in fact, that confidential briefing texts, summarising the contents of the agreement and the outcome of the negotiations, were circulated to all members of the committee in all the three meetings in which the text of the agreement was discussed," he said.

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