US welcomes India's decision to move forward with Nuclear deal

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New Delhi, Jul 11 (UNI) The United States today welcomed India's decision to move forward with the civilian nuclear deal by seeking International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approval for its Safeguards Agreement and assured that Washington would work closely with the IAEA, the NSG and the (US) Congress to see the initiative implemented quickly.

''This historic initiative is a significant component of the Strategic Partnership envisioned by President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh...We will work closely with India, with Governors of the IAEA, with our Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) partners and the United States Congress to ensure that this initiative is implemented as quickly as possible,'' US Ambassador to India, David C Mulford, said here.

Mr Mulford, however, said much work still needed to be done to see this initiative through to the final stages.

He said the US-India Civil Nuclear Initiative would help India meet its growing energy demands in an economically efficient and environment-friendly manner and strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.

India on Wednesday night had requested the IAEA to circulate their Draft Safeguards Agreement to the 35-members of the Board of Governors of the nuclear watchdog.

India also made public the vital Agreement yesterday, throwing it into public domain for open discussion.

Mr Mulford yesterday met the Prime Minister and officials of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and discussed the latest developments on the deal.

He had also met several envoys of NSG countries in India and sought their countries' support for the deal.

After the IAEA Board of Governors debates the Safeguards Agreement, the deal will go to the 45-nation powerful nuclear lobby--the NSG, whose approval is also vital for the ratification of the agreement.

Most of the NSG members have reservations about giving approval to the agreement since India is not a signatory to the NPT. The last hurdle will be the US Congress.

UNI RB GL DS1501

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