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Statement on moratorium convinced New Zealand to back waiver

September 08, 2008 17:37 IST

India's commitment to the unilateral moratorium of nuclear testing convinced New Zealand [Images] to backĀ the Nuclear Suppliers Group waiver to New Delhi [Images] to trade in peaceful nuclear technology, Prime Minister Helen Clark said on Monday.

"Our most serious concerns have been addressed to a significant degree," Clark toldĀ media-persons in Wellington.

New Zealand was one of the three sceptic countries in the 45-member group along with Ireland, Switzerland [Images] and Austria who sought to block, till the last moment, a waiver to India for resuming nuclear commerce with the international community.

"India has given a written assurance which states that it remains committed to unilateral, voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing," the New Zealand Prime minister said referring to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement on the issue. "So there is a clear expectation that India will not conduct further nuclear tests," she said.

"Any resumption of testing could trigger a meeting and cause a decision to review," Clark was quoted by the New Zealand Press Association.

Prime Minister Clark confirmed that she had spoken to US President George Bush [Images] on Thursday. She also said she had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images].

The New Zealand Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control Phil Goff said assurances were sought on nuclear enrichment, reprocessing, not spreading nuclear technology, and being prepared to sign an additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency on opening India's civilian reactors to international inspections. "These concerns were met to a significant degree," Goff said.

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