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I am not stalling the N-deal: Tom Lantos
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | December 07, 2006 12:12 IST
The office of United States Congressman Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, has denied an Indian media report that he stands between India and the civilian nuclear deal with the US.
Lantos will take over the chairmanship of the committee in January.
The report had said that Lantos, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor of the Jewish faith, 'who is pathologically opposed to Iran' and has been described as 'probably the most virulent Zionist in the entire Congress', wants the administration to use the nuclear deal to influence India's Iran policy.
Lantos' press secretary Lynne Weil told rediff.com that Lantos, the co-author of the House enabling legislation to facilitate the deal, 'has been one of the main forces working toward successful Congressional review and approval of the US-India civilian nuclear agreement since it was first announced.'
"And in the last few days," Weil noted, "Congressman Lantos has played a pivotal role in bridging the gaps among differing provisions in the House and Senate versions of the bill."
She said: "What holds it up now has nothing to do with him. It is now up to the Congressional leadership to let the process to go forward to completion."
Weil said another member of Congress [Illinois Republican leader John Boehner], not Lantos, remains the obstacle to the successful finish of the process reconciling the House and Senate versions of this highly significant legislation.
In his remarks at the meeting of the conference committee on Tuesday, Lantos had said: "I strongly believe that the civilian nuclear accord marks a turning point in relations between India and the United States, while also advancing US nonproliferation cooperation with the Indian government.
"We now have the opportunity to achieve a geo-strategic realignment of India with the United States," he had said.