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N-deal: Pranab to embark on 10-day US visit
September 21, 2007 21:55 IST
Amid continuing confrontation between government and Left allies on the nuclear deal, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will travel to the US on Saturday on a 10-day visit during which he will meet Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and some other leaders.
Follow-up steps for implementation of the nuclear agreement are expected to figure in talks between Rice and Mukherjee, who will visit Washington after addressing the UN General Assembly session in New York on September 27, sources said in New Delhi on Friday.
The US is keen on expediting next steps for implementation of the deal so that the process could be wound up by December.
After conclusion of the 123 agreement early next month, India is required to negotiate a safeguards agreement with IAEA and seek changes in Nuclear Suppliers Group rules to allow international community to have trade with it.
The US has already briefed the 45-nation NSG about the deal with an emphasis that exemption be granted to India at the earliest.
Negotiations on the safeguards agreement with IAEA have got bogged down in the political controversy here with the government's Left allies warning against operationalising the deal.
The Left parties, which provide crucial outside support to the government, have demanded a six-month pause in the process for implementing the deal.