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US 90% close to N-deal: Washington
February 20, 2006 18:16 IST
Days ahead of President George W Bush's visit to India, a senior administration official has said the US was "90 per cent of the way there" on formally working out a Indo-US civilian nuclear arragement. "We're 90 per cent of the way there," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nucholas Burns told Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek magazine, adding, "We've just got 10 per cent to go."
Burns, the point man for US administration on the civilian nuclear arrangement signed between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush on July 18, 2005, is heading to India this week for what is seen as a round of critical negotiations.
"This has been a uniquely complicated negotiation between two equal parties. But we are committed to it. And as long as both of us show flexibility in the details, I'm confident that we will come to an agreement," he said.
Also Read: The Indo-US Nuclear Tango
Burns also rejected any linkage between the civilian nuclear agreement and India's stand on Iran nuclear issue. "We're well beyond all that. India joined with the majority of the board of the Atomic Energy Agency, including a majority of nonaligned countries like Brazil, Egypt and Sri Lanka to vote as it did.
And we are all now focused on a diplomatic path to address Iran's violations of its treaty obligations," he told the magazine. Burns's proposed India trip has been on the cards for some time now and only last week the subject came up during the confirmation hearings of Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary of State designate for South and Central Asia.Boucher told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Burns was "willing" to go to New Delhi if this could be the basis for concluding a separation plan.