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N-deal: Rice speaks to Mukherjee; US rules out renegotiation
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | October 30, 2007 01:43 IST
United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday spoke to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee over telephone about the bilateral nuclear deal.
During the conversation, Rice conveyed to Mukherjee that the US was keen on moving ahead with the civilian nuclear deal, informed State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
The spokesman said that the civilian nuclear deal was the primary focus of the conversation between Rice and Mukherjee.
Asked if Rice is still hopeful about the accord that has run into political trouble in India, McCormack said, "She (Rice) still supports it going forward. We have conveyed that to the Indian government at a number of different levels. Indian leaders are working through some domestic politics. I know that there is an intense debate within India right now, concerning the civil nuclear deal with the United States."
"The Indian people and the Indian political system are going to have to work out whatever resolution of that debate there will be. But we continue to urge the Indian government to move forward with this deal. And we are prepared to move forward with it as well" McCormack said.
Rice underlined to Mukherjee "that we can continue to support the agreement, continue moving forward with the agreement" the spokesman said.
However, McCormack ruled out any possibility of a renegotiation of the deal.
"I don't believe that there's any consideration of that or any discussion of that on either side at this point." said McCormack. He added that at this stage, the United States cannot do anything to help with the process and it is really a matter for India to resolve the questions.
"At this point, I believe it's really a matter for the Indian political system to resolve their questions about it. And whatever that resolution is, it's going to be up to them...whichever way they decide to go," said McCormack.