PM hopeful of clinching N deal

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New York, Sep 23 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is hopeful that the Indo-US Nuclear initiative would be concluded (during the current visit) but said it all depended upon the US Congress.

The Prime Minister who arrived here today on a five-day visit from Frankfurt primarily to address the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly and have a meeting with US President George Bush in Washington on September 25, told reporters on board his special aircraft that nothing was clear at this stage and the US Congress was pre-occupied with the financial crisis.

Asked if he would feel disappointed if the deal did not get through this time, the Prime Minister said that in politics, he had learnt to deal with disappointments.

''We have not reached that stage yet. I am still hopeful that that the deal will happen,'' he said.

On his meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari here tomorrow and the issues that would be discussed, the Prime Minister declined to give details saying it would not be proper for him to divulge the details before meeting Mr Zardari.

However, he said, both countries faced the challenge of terrorism which was a complex issue, and he would tell Mr Zardari that both countries faced a number of challenges including cross-border terrorism, which had to be met.

The Prime Minister is meeting Mr Zardari and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao tomorrow on the sidelines of the UNGA. He will also meet the World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

On September 25, Dr Singh will fly to Washington on a 'working visit' and address the UNGA on September 26.

On September 27, the Prime Minister will travel to France to attend the India-EU Summit at Marseille on September 29. He will have a bilateral Summit meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on September 30 before flying home.

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