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Home > News > PTI

US 'trying hard' to convince NSG: Stratford

Lalitha Vaidyanathan in Vienna | September 21, 2007 18:10 IST
Last Updated: September 21, 2007 18:28 IST

The United States, which has been seeking early conclusion of the Indo-US nuclear deal, on Friday said it wanted to 'speed up' the process and was 'trying hard' to convince the Nuclear Suppliers Group to allow nuclear commerce with India.

"What is required is to convince the NSG of the non-proliferation benefits of the deal," Richard J K Stratford, director at the Office of Nuclear Energy Affairs in the US State Department, told PTI.

"We are also putting forth India's case for clean and unconditional exemption, and we are trying hard on that," he said.

Asked whether there was a definite time-frame for getting the NSG to change its rules, Stratford said: "Yes, we have a time-frame and we have to focus on the non-proliferation benefits of the deal."

There were 100 people from 33 countries who attended the two-and-a-half-hour-long interaction.

Stratford said he gave the initial briefing on the 123 Agreement for 45 minutes and focussed primarily on 'really hard issues' the US and India resolved before finalising the pact.

He also gave all members copies of the 123 Agreement and explained to them various sections of the text.

"I explained to them how we resolved the issues and agreed to the text of the agreement," Stratford said.

India needs to firm up a safeguards agreement with IAEA and secure changes in NSG guidelines to implement the deal.

Asked about the feedback from the participants, he said: "The Irish came with a long list of written questions while six more countries also asked hard questions and it took a long time to explain to them." 

The US wants to meet the entire pre-requisites of the operationalisation of the deal by the end of this year.

During the briefing, the US also explained to the NSG members about the safeguards issues, which India has to sort out with the IAEA.

"Good news is that we were able to answer all the questions. The lesser good news is that a number of countries were concerned about the deal because of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- the impact of the NPT regime," Stratford said.

The US will continue to work with the NSG members on the 'basics of the deal,' he said, adding, "We are convincing the NSG countries that all the individual issues have been handled correctly in the context of the agreement."

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