National Security Adviser to meet SP leaders on Nuke deal tomorrow

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (UNI) In a significant development, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan will meet Samajwadi Party leaders tomorrow to brief them on the safeguards agreement with the IAEA, which is being seen as an an indication of the Congress having finally suceeded in winning over the SP to its side on the controversial deal that has brought the UPA Government to the brink of fall ten months ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.

The discussion with the National Security Adviser might make it easy for the SP to finally declare its support for the Congress on the ground that it had been given a new perspective on the subject, as it had been maintaining that it was ready to change its stand on the deal provided the Manmohan Singh Government brought up new facts to assure it that the deal would not compromise the country's sovereignty and national interest.

SP General Secretary Amar Singh today told reporters after a meeting with CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat that a meeting will take place between Samajwadi Party leaders and Mr Narayanan tomorrow for clarification on certain aspects of the deal.

Mr Singh gave further justification of his party's probable support for the Congress by underlining how the BSP was joining hands with ''communal forces like the BJP.'' The decision to arrange a meeting between M R Narayanan and the SP leaders comes in the midst of hardening of the Left opposition to the Indo-US nuclear pact.

The support of the SP with 39 MPs would be very crucial for the Congress-led UPA in the Lok Sabha in case the Left parted ways with the latter over the issue. The Left combine has 59 MPs among the 288 of the UPA.

The Congress wants to be sure of the SP support for the deal before the Prime Minister leaves for Japan to attend the G-8 summit where he would meet US President George Bush, and it is understood that he would like to take a final decision on the issue before that.

He has set a deadline of July 15 to finalise an India-specific nuclear safeguards treaty with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Left parties today threatened to withdraw their support to the UPA government before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's proposed visit to the G-8 Summit in Japan on July 6.

Though the SP has been saying that it would take a final decision only after the United National Progressive Alliance(UNPA) meeting here on July three, it was more than clear that the party had almost finalised its views on the issue.

Besides the Samajwadi party, the UNPA includes the Telugu Desam party (TDP), the Indian National Lok Dal of Om Prakash Chautala, the Asom Gana Parishad, the PMK, the Jharkhand Vimukti Morcha. The other two constituents AIADMK and MDMK had already walked out of the Alliance.

UNI NAZ PK MIR KP1933

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