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Menon confident of IAEA exemption

July 21, 2008 22:04 IST

Some countries have expressed "doubts and misgivings" over India-specific safeguards agreement with IAEA at the recent briefing given by India in Vienna, which New Delhi will address.

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters in New Delhi that this was for the first time that an exception would be made for India which is not a signatory to the Nulcear Non Proliferation Treaty. "Some countries which have doubts and misgivings...  we will talk to them and convince them."

Menon, who was in Vienna for the July 18 meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, said "we answered questions and spoke about the importance of the civil nuclear cooperation in meeting our energy needs. There were some questions about the safeguards agreement. We answered their queries".

He said the Indian delegation in Vienna answered questions of representatives of several nations on the safeguards agreement as well as Indo-US nuclear deal.

"We expect a clean and unconditional exemption (from the IAEA)� it is for the first time ever that such an exemption will be granted," Menon said in reply to questions.

The IAEA Secretariat has convened a meeting on July 25 to brief all member-states on the technical aspects of the safeguards agreement, he said.

Asked about the movement of the deal at the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), he said "the US will approach the NSG and do this. We are not a member of the Group. We are in touch with NSG members and are explaining to them how resumption of civil nuclear cooperation will be in our interests and theirs too." 

During his recent visit to the Vienna headquarters of the IAEA, India briefed the 35 member countries of the Board of Governors on the India-specific safeguards agreement which was an essential step to implement the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The Board of Governors meets on August 1 to discuss and possibly approve the safeguards agreement.

To questions about a time-line by which the nuclear deal could come into effect, Menon said "we have never gone into time lines. We will make our best efforts and do it as early as we can."

"William Burns, the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, would come to India in August and the dates of his visit were being worked out through diplomatic channels," the foreign secretary said.

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