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Sonia ready to discuss Volcker but not Mitrokhin
November 25, 2005 15:17 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday rejected the Opposition's demand for a debate in Parliament on disclosures of former KGB agent Mitrokhin that the Soviet intelligence agency had funded the Congress during Cold War years.
However, she expressed her party's readiness for a discussion on the Volcker Committee Report on Iraq's oil payoff scam.
Coming down heavily on the Opposition for disrupting proceedings in Parliament on the Volcker issue for the second consecutive day on Friday, Sonia said, "This has been the opposition's track record."
"I have emphatically stated that there is just no question of the involvement of the Congress in Iraq's oil-for-food programme," she said, while speaking at the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party, attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party members of Parliament.
The government has already set up an inquiry authority headed by a former Chief Justice and a judge of the International Court of Justice on the Volcker issue, she said.
"The government has also expressed its readiness for a debate but the National Democratic Alliance is simply not interested," she added.
"We will not hesitate to take action, if the probe findings so warrant, against anyone who may have misused the party's name for personal gain," she said. "As for the so-called Mitrokhin disclosures, we reject them outright."
Congress sources said the party did not give any importance to Mitrokhin Archives disclosures as 'they are fictional in character'.
The Opposition has been disrupting both Houses of Parliament, demanding resignation of former external affairs minister Natwar Singh from the Cabinet, as his name has figured in the list of 'non-contractual beneficiaries' in the oil deal scam.
It is also demanding Sonia's resignation as the Congress Party has also been named as a beneficiary in Iraq's Oil-for-Food scam under the Saddam Hussein regime in 2001.
About the BJP's allegation that the Congress had 'betrayed the interests of the country', Sonia said, "We need no lessons on patriotism. The accomplishments of the Congress speak for itself. It has been national interest that has driven our domestic and foreign policies and it will continue to do so."
On the Iran nuclear issue, Sonia, while recalling traditional ties with Iran, said the government would continue to work for a just and fair solution. She pointed out that it has been decided that there would be no resolution in Vienna, hence no voting and the matter will be dealt with at the International Atomic Energy Agency.