No formal talks with IAEA chief on safeguards agreement

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New Delhi, Oct 9 (UNI) The government will not have any formal discussions with IAEA Director General Mohammad El Baradei on India-specific safeguards agreement during his ongoing visit here even though the IAEA chief said he was waiting for New Delhi to approach the Agency with a formal request for the purpose.

Offficial sources said here today the IAEA Chief would meet External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee here tomorrow. Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon will host a dinner for him.

He will also meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on October 11.

''There is enough to talk with him...we have a whole range of issues. We don't have to discuss the (Indo-US) nuclear deal...The IAEA has a standard safeguards system. We will discuss safeguards in general sense,'' the sources added while describing Dr ElBaradei as an ''old friend.'' The IAEA Chief who arrived in Mumbai yesterday on a four-day visit, held discussions with Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Anil Kakodkar.

He also addressed the scientific community at the Advanced Centre for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer facility in Mumbai, describing India as a valuable partner in development of nuclear technology and arms control.

Asked if he would have a fruitful discussion with the government in the light of present UPA-Left standoff over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Dr ElBaradei said, ''I have always had fruitful discussions with the Indian government and it will be so in the future as well.'' UNI

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