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India holds informal talks with IAEA

Indian representatives met with IAEA officials on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog.

world Updated: Sep 22, 2007 16:13 IST

India met informally with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials in Vienna to arrange for further talks regarding the application of agency safeguards to Indian facilities to take forward the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Indian representatives met with IAEA officials on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog being held in Vienna.

At a special meeting of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group on Thursday, the US had briefed NSG members on details of the US-Indian nuclear deal.

In India, the country's leftists threatened to withdraw their support to the governing coalition if the deal went ahead.

Meanwhile, delegates struggled to conclude the annual meeting of the IAEA in Vienna while discussions over new sanctions against Iran were underway in New York.

Negotiations continued until late Friday evening, as diplomats were at loggerheads over two resolutions regarding technical cooperation between the IAEA and its member states and strengthening the agency's safeguards system.

A vote was taken on a paragraph as Israel, India and Pakistan, who are non-members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, rejected the "universal" application of IAEA safeguards.

The IAEA meeting was delayed earlier as diplomats were locked in closed-door meetings over a motion regarding Israel's "nuclear capabilities and threat" drafted by the Agency's Arab member states, eventually turned down.

Iran slammed the refusal to discuss the issue as being a "shameful and dark point in the history of the Agency."

The Iranian nuclear dispute was a key feature of discussions. Nations expressed cautious welcome for a work plan negotiated between the UN nuclear watchdog and the Islamic Republic to solve long-standing questions over Iran's nuclear programme. Iran was urged to cooperate with the Agency.

Representatives from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the US - plus Germany met in Washington Friday to discuss further sanctions against Iran.

Iran, under suspicion of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability has refused to heed previous Security Council resolutions calling for a halt of its controversial uranium enrichment programme.

Russia and China remain reluctant to support more sanctions in view of Teheran's recent commitment to cooperate with the IAEA inspectors.

Albania, Algeria, Ecuador, Ghana, Iran, Ireland, Lithuania, Mexico, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland were elected as new members for a two-year term for the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors.

First Published: Sep 22, 2007 16:03 IST