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Netherlands ready to consider nuke trade with India
Sagar Kulkarni in Hague | October 17, 2007 09:41 IST
The Netherlands, a key member of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, has said that the export of nuclear goods for peaceful purposes to India was in conformity with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The country has also expressed its readiness to consider any proposal in this regard.
However, Netherlands said that it was awaiting the finalisation of the agreement between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency and it will formulate its final position after careful analysis of the pact as well as the 123 Agreement.
"I believe that the civil nuclear cooperation between the US and India contains positive elements to answer India's energy demands in the future," said Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen.
He said pulling India closer into the worldwide non-proliferation framework and integrating large parts of India's nuclear activities in the IAEA inspection regime are important steps forward and will benefit the international community.
"The Netherlands, as a member of the NSG, is prepared to consider the possible request from the US to look at the NSG guidelines with regard to export of nuclear technology in a constructive manner," Verhagen said.
He asserted that such changes should be in conformity with its non-proliferation commitments and obligation, but said that "export of nuclear goods for peaceful purposes to India is in conformity with the NPT."
Verhagen said the Netherlands considered the NPT as one of the cornerstones of the legally binding system of international treaties and legislation in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. "Within the NPT, the IAEA is of vital importance for its full implementation and enforcement to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear applications," he said.
Verhagen said that the NSG will not discuss the issue of change in its guidelines before the IAEA board of governors has agreed upon the safeguards agreement with India. "The Netherlands will formulate its final position for the NSG after a careful analysis of the 123 Agreement between India and the US and the safeguards agreement as approved by the IAEA board of governors. We expect both partners in the agreement to do their utmost to uphold the goals of the NPT," he said.
Verhagen said no official definition of India-specific safeguards has yet been made public."For me, detailed clarification is necessary in order to consider these amendments," he said.
On the expansion of the United Nations Security Council, Verhagen said the Netherlands shared India's view that the composition of the UNSC should reflect more accurately today's geopolitical realities.
But he added that increasing the membership of the UNSC was not the only aspect of UNSC reform. "I think working methods also have to be adapted to secure the credibility of the UNSC."