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India PM Discusses Nuclear Deal With US President Bush

US President George Bush, on the White House phone. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi, India (AFP) Nov 16, 2006
India's premier Manmohan Singh discussed Thursday a landmark civilian nuclear deal with US President George Bush after the pact's approval by the US Congress was delayed by US mid-term elections. "The prime minister expressed appreciation for President Bush's commitment to the passage of the legislation," a statement from Singh's office said.

During the telephone conversation, Singh raised India's concerns over the fate of the accord after the Democrats gained control of both houses of the US Congress this month in the midterm polls.

The prime minister "hoped that the bill in its final form will accommodate India's stated concerns", the statement said.

The two leaders also "expressed satisfaction at the state of bilateral relations between Indian and the United States", the statement added.

The nuclear agreement had been clinched during Bush's visit to New Delhi in March.

On Wednesday, the US Senate began debating the agreement under which India, a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), would be allowed access to long-denied civilian nuclear technology in return for placing its atomic reactors under global safeguards.

To facilitate the deal, the US Congress has to create an exception for India from some of the requirements of the US Atomic Energy Act, which currently bans nuclear sales to non-NPT signatories.

The US House of Representatives gave its thumbs-up to the deal in July but a Senate vote was delayed due to legislative elections last week that resulted in Democrat control of both chambers of the new Congress from January.

Analysts say it is unclear how the current Republican-controlled Senate will vote on the legislation this week, even though leaders of both Republican and Democrat parties have called for its approval.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Ahmadinejad Says Iran Ready For 'Final Nuclear Step'
Tehran (AFP) Nov 16, 2006
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday said Iran was ready to take the "final step" in its nuclear programme as world powers remained deadlocked over imposing UN sanctions. "The enemies of the Iranian people must know that the Iranian people have taken their decision and will resist until the end," the semi-official Mehr agency quoted him as saying in a speech in Baneh in Kordestan province.

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