Nuke deal effort will continue: PM

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Tshwane, Pretoria, Oct 17 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today indicated that efforts would continue to salvage the controversial Indo-US Nuclear deal even as he joined the Presidents of Brazil and South Africa in resolving to explore ''approaches to cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under appropriate International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) safeguards.'' ''The process of evolving meaningful consensus back home is still on,'' Dr Singh said immediately after he jointly issued ''Tshwane'' declaration in the company of Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki at the end of a day-long Summit of India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit here.

His reply about the status of the Indo-US deal came in response to a question if he would not have to face domestic political pressure if he pursued to explore more options to find nuclear energy sources.

Dr Singh's statement assumes significance in the context of his 15-minute long telephonic conversation with US President George W Bush on the ''difficulties'' the deal is facing in India in the face of opposition from the Left parties, whose outside support is crucial for the 40-month-old Manmohan Singh government.

Dr Singh talked to Mr Bush on Monday when the former was on a three-day state visit in Abuja in Nigeria.

In the Tshwane declaration, the IBSA countries strongly emphasised the need for ensuring the supply of safe, sustainable and non-polluting sources of energy to meet the rising global demand for energy, particularly in developing countries.

In this context, they agreed that international civilian nuclear cooperation, under appropriate IAEA safeguards, among countries committed to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives, could be enhanced through acceptable forward-looking approaches, consistent with the respective national and international obligations.

They also reiterated the importance of ensuring that any multilateral decisions related to the nuclear fuel cycle do not undermine the inalienable right of States to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with their international legal obligations.

Since Brazil and South Africa are powerful members of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Dr Singh had reportedly discussed the Indo-US nuclear deal with the Presidents of both the countries with whom India's cooperation has been increasing.

After the summit, Dr Singh, in fact, had separate discussions with Mr Lula and Mr Mbeki.

UNI

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