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White House asks US Congress to move quickly on 123 agreement

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | September 09, 2008 01:06 IST

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Indo-US Nuclear Tango

Asking the US Congress to "act soon" on the crucial civil nuclear agreement with India, the White House has said the Bush administration will work very closely with members of the Congress to ensure the passage of the deal in a "timely fashion".

"We urge Congress to act soon on this important measure. Secretary Rice and her team will be working very closely with members of Congress over the next several weeks to see if we can get this done in a timely fashion," White House spokesperson Dana Perino [Images] said in her briefing.

Given the overwhelming support the nuclear initiative with India has enjoyed among the Congress members, Perino said, chances that the 123 agreement with India will be ratified in the Congress are good.

"I would say that signs for it to be able to pass are good, given the bipartisan support it's enjoyed in the past. I don't think anything has changed in that regard. So if they are able to get anything done, this could be one of them," she added.

The landmark civilian nuclear agreement, which received a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group on Saturday, after hectic parleys spanning over three days, will help create more jobs for Americans and Indians, besides helping to address issues of climate change, Perino said.

"It increases jobs for Indians and for Americans. It increases innovation and competition. Civil nuclear energy is the way of the future if we want to power this country (India) in a way that is clean, renewable, and does not emit greenhouse gases," she added.

The deal, which has been shepherded by the Bush administration through the NSG, faces its final hurdle as the US Congress meets on Monday for its session that ends on September 26.

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