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Home > News > PTI

Iran, N-deal on Burns' agenda during visit

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | January 14, 2006 12:40 IST

The Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement and Iranian nuclear issue will dominate the agenda of talks US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns will have with the Indian leadership during his visit to the country next week.

Burns and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran will hold the fourth meeting of the Joint Working Group on Civilian Nuclear Cooperation and discuss further implementation of initiatives agreed upon in July 18 joint statement after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's talks with President George W Bush in Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday.

"He (Burns) is certainly going to be talking aboutthe US-India agreement on civilian nuclear affairs that was signed and how we go about implementing that," he said.

On Iran, the spokesman said thatit is going to be an "important topic" of discussion.

"Last time around at the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, they (India) voted with other countries to find Iran in non-compliance. At the upcoming emergency session of the Board of Governors, we'll see how these and other countries vote," the spokesman remarked.

"We are not going to prejudge how any particular country is going to vote at this time, but as the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said, we believe we have the votes in the IAEA Board of Governors to send this matter to the United Nations Security Council," McCormack stressed.

He said that Burns' travel to India is for discussions "that seek to advance the new strategic partnership" between the US and India. However, the spokesman did not give any dates for the visit.

Burns will have a stopover in Europe before proceeding on a trip to South Asia, which will take him to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Although McCormack did not give any dates for the visit, sources at the State Department said it would be from January 16 to 25.

On Burns' India visit, a senior Bush administration official told PTI that both the US under secretary of state and Saran will also be discussing "deliverables" as far as Bush's visit to India. A number of issues are being talked about, including energy cooperation that goes beyond nuclear, trade, investment and commerce.

On the civilian nuclear energy cooperation, the senior official said that when Saran came to Washingtonin December 2005, he had brought with him some ideas on how to proceed.

"We are responding in Burns' trip out to India as part of the continuing dialogue," the official said.

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