Government can talk with IAEA: Left parties

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New Delhi, Nov 13: In a dramatic development, the Left parties today softened their stand on the issue of UPA government approaching the IAEA on the safeguards agreement on the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying that they must have the veto right over the text of the negotiations to be carried out with the UN nuclear watchdog.

The sixth meeting of the UPA-Left political panel on the nuclear pact will take place on November 16, sources said. The meeting which had been deferred has now been rescheduled on the same date.

The sources told the sources that the government chief interlocutor and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee talked to CPI (M) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury this morning and conveyed the decision to hold the meeting at 1600 hours on November 16.

It is expected that the panel will discuss threadbare the issue of the Left allowing the government to enter into negotiations with the IAEA.Its crux will be whether to give veto right to the Left over the text of the negotiations.

It is apparent that the Left has conceded the government's suggestion of being allowed to approach the IAEA for the safeguards agreement.

The Left is also hoping to keep the veto right over the text of the agreement.

Insistance of the Left to go through the text should be seen in the context of the controversy that followed the government signing the 123 agreement.

Senior Left leaders refuted the contention aired in the media that because of the Nandigram turmoil, the Left have been compelled to agree to the government proposition.

''We have made no give and take on Nandigram issue,'' they said.

The development came a day after CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said there was a possibility of sorting out the issue in the next meeting of the UPA-Left political panel.

His counterpart in CPI, A B Bardhan, endorsed Mr Karat's viewpoint when he said the Left will consider allowing the Centre to go to the IAEA for a safeguards agreement on the nuclear deal as long as no agreement is signed before clearing it with the Left.

UNI

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