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Menon meets US envoy; gives N-deal update
December 11, 2007 19:02 IST
As India began a fresh round of talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency on safeguards agreement amid Left threat, United States Ambassador David Mulford met Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon to get an update on the progress with regard to operationalisation of the nuclear deal.
Mulford is understood to have sought to know details of the parleys held with the IAEA so far and the way forward. The US envoy, during the meeting on Monday, sought Menon's assessment about the time that finalisation of the agreement with the IAEA will take, sources said.
The Bush administration has been goading India to expedite talks with the IAEA so that the nuclear agreement could be implemented before the US goes into election mode early next year.
The Left allies of the UPA government, however, have been opposing operationalisation of the agreement and have even threatened to bring down the government if it was done. The 123 agreement, concluded in August, is to be approved by the US Congress and the Bush administration points out that it would be difficult as the Presidential election process there gets underway.
After firming the safeguards agreement with the IAEA, India will have to approach the Nuclear Suppliers Group for changes in its rules to allow international community to have atomic cooperation with it. After conditional clearance from the Left parties, the government began talks with IAEA last month. The second round of discussions are underway in Vienna.
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