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US Gives Assurances On Indian Nuclear Deal

US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi, India (AFP) Oct 13, 2006
A top US official has given assurances that the United States wants to go ahead with a key civilian nuclear deal with India, easing fears for the agreement raised by North Korea's atomic test.

US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said in an interview broadcast Thursday that Washington was "determined" to implement the deal.

"We are determined to fulfil the commitments we made to the Indian government," Burns told NDTV.

Burns said he had been in touch with Indian officials to "assure that the US wants to go forward on all of the definite initiatives that President (George) Bush and Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh talked in March."

The accord -- reached during Bush's March visit -- aims to give New Delhi access to previously forbidden nuclear technology to generate electricity to fuel its rapid economic growth.

Under the terms of the deal, India -- which conducted nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998 and has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) -- will separate its civilian and military plants and put the former under international safeguards.

Washington for its part agreed to amend its 1954 Atomic Energy Act to allow nuclear commerce and trade in technology with a non-NPT signatory.

The US Congress gave its thumbs-up to the deal in July but a vote has been delayed in the Republican-controlled Senate that will shortly hold polls to elect new members.

North Korea's announcement earlier this week that it had conducted a nuclear test had however given rise to doubts about whether US lawmakers opposed to the deal would allow it to go through.

Burns however said Congressmen and Senators were aware of the "world of difference between India and North Korea."

"India is a peaceful, democratic, law-abiding leader of the international community. North Korea is the reverse of all that," he told NDTV.

"There is great trust that the commitments the Indian government has made to us will be fulfilled and we are very confident that the India deal will be approved by a substantial margin, at least we hope it will.

"We have been encouraged by the great number of senators, Democrats and Republicans, who have come out to support the agreement," Burns added.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Sees Key Issues Over North Korea Sanctions Resolved, Hopeful For Early UN Vote
United Nations (AFP) Oct 12, 2006
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