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US sends top bureaucrat to bat at India's IAEA briefing

July 17, 2008 12:25 IST

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American Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns will travel to the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna on Friday to shore up support for the Indo-US nuclear deal when New Delhi plans to brief the Board of Governors of the atomic watchdog on a safeguards agreement.

Burns, who is travelling to Geneva for a meeting on Iran's controversial nuclear programme, will have a stopover in Vienna on Friday.

"Under Secretary Burns is going to have some consultations at the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday, related to the nuclear deal," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told media-persons without elaborating.

"I don't have many more details for you than that he is going to be in Vienna at the IAEA for some consultations on the civil nuclear deal," McCormack said.

With the Manmohan Singh [Images] government bracing for a trust vote on July 22, India on Wednesday said it has decided to scale down Friday's special briefing for the IAEA on the safeguards agreement and other aspects of Indo-US nuclear deal, confining it to its 35-member Board of Governors and Nuclear Suppliers Group countries which are not part of the Board.

The IAEA has said its Board will meet on August 1 to discuss a draft safeguards agreement with India, necessary for the implementation of the deal unveiled by US President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July 2005 which would allow India trade in nuclear materials and technology.

In addition, India must obtain a waiver from the NSG, a group of 45 states that export nuclear fuel and technology. Burns will travel on Saturday to Geneva for talks with Iran on its nuclear programme.




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