Pranab discusses deadlock over N-deal with PM

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{image-pranab mukherjee_21062008.jpg www.oneindia.com}New Delhi, Jun 21: On Saturday, June 21, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apprise him about the recent developments over the nuclear deal, especially after the Left threatened to withdraw its support to the Congress-led UPA government if it goes ahead on the deal, and also in the wake of the US asking New Delhi to hurry up as 'time was running out'.

The meeting was held after the US reminded India that time was running out and that the political differences over the deal should be resolved at the earliest to pave the way for the bilateral deal. In the wake of the continuing stalemate over the deal, Mukherjee has delayed his departure to Australia by one day. He was originally scheduled to fly to Australia last evening.

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After taking stock of the latest developments in New Delhi, a US State Department spokesman said that both the countries were having a regular dialogue over the latest developments regarding the deal.

"We are talking to them (India) about it (deal), in as much as they are briefing us on their efforts. I think it's more they're coming to us to say. This is what we're trying to do to resolve internal political differences that are holding up the deal moving forward," State Department spokesman McCormack told reporters at the regular press briefing in Washington.

He added, "Every single day that the Indian government delays and has delayed is a day that makes it much more difficult to get this done. All of that said, you know, we'll, of course, continue to work very closely with Senator Biden, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as others on that committee, should the Indian government get to a different place."

The spokesman also said that a separate branch of the US government as well as other international Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and IAEA would be dealing with the deal.

On Friday, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Prakash Karat called on Mukherjee to discuss nuclear deal issue. "We have reiterated our stand and told the Government not to go ahead with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) talks," Karat said. Pranab Mukherjee said, "There is neither any deterioration nor improvement on nuclear deal issue."

ANI

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