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India, US talk to finalise N-deal

July 24, 2008 19:58 IST

The US has lauded India's "deep resolve" to go ahead with their nuclear deal as Secretary of State Condoleezza met Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma twice to discuss the "next steps" for finalizing the pact.

External Affairs Ministry sources said Rice and Sharma had a meeting today on "issues related to concluding the historic deal" within hours after they first met last night.

"Both the leaders discussed the next steps for finalizing the deal," sources said.

The two leaders also met last night on the sidelines of ASEAN ministerial meet here and talked on the "entire gamut of issues" relating to the civilian nuclear deal.

They had a "very good" meeting during which Rice appreciated India's "deep resolve to go ahead with the historic nuclear deal", sources said after the first round of talks.

The deliberations reflecting the urgency India and the US were attaching to the nuclear pact assume significance as the IAEA Board of Governors meetS on August 1 to consider the agreement for approval.

Sharma also held discussions on India's civil nuclear energy programme and sought support of member countries of the IAEA Board of Governors and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

 Sharma is leading an Indian delegation here in connection with the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers' Meeting, ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting and the 15th ASEAN Regional Forum.

The Minister also had bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers or heads of delegations of Singapore, Australia, Canada [Images], Russia [Images], Japan [Images], South Korea, China, Philippines,

France [Images], Malaysia, Canada and Thailand. The meetings covered a wide range of issues of shared interest.

 During the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting attended by Sharma, the regional grouping said they welcomed the Indo-US agreement which would ensure energy security for India and hoped the countries would be able to conclude the pact soon.

 After the government won the confidence motion on Tuesday night, the US had said it will work with Indian government to expedite the processes at IAEA and 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for an exemption to facilitate nuclear commerce.

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