PM set to sign agreement for India-France civil n cooperation

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Marseille, France, Sep 28 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in this 2600-year-old port city this evening on a day-long visit to attend the India-EU Summit on the second and last leg of his ten-day two-nation tour to US and France.

The Prime Minister flew in from New York where he addressed the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26 and held a meeting with US President George Bush in Washington on September 25 and several other world leaders on the sidelines of the UNGA.

He will go to Paris tomorrow for the bilateral Summit meeting with French President Niciolas Sarkozy on September 30.

Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will have a restricted meeting with the French President, President of the European Commission and (EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.

After that he will attend the India-EU Summit.

Earlier, speaking to reporters accompanying him on board the special aircraft, the Prime Minister said that during his talks with President Sarkozy, the Framework Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation between India and France would come up for a review and ''possible signature.'' ''I am looking forward to my meeting with President Sarkozy. who as Chairperson of the EU, will be presiding over the India-EU Summit. Then we have a bilateral Summit. We have already initialled the framework agreement on bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear matters. It will certainly come up for review and possible signature during my visit,'' the Prime Minister said.

He also expressed outrage at the recent bomb explosion in New Delhi and reiterated the need to tighten intelligence gathering and strengthen investigative processes.

''We cannot give up our fight against terrorism, our resoluteness which is necessary to deal with this menace,'' the Prime Minister said.

Talking about his visit to Washington from September 23-27 and his talks with President Bush, the Prime Minister said it was designed to review the state of Indo-US relations in the background of the July 18, 2005, statement.

He expressed happiness that the House of Representatives had cleared the Bill yesterday but said that it was not the end of the Congressional process and there was need to wait for the final outcome.

''Both, President Bush and I, expressed satisfaction at the way the relations have progressed. I was told that the 123 agreement was in the Congress and I have just now heard that the House has passed the Bill. It will now go to the Senate. One hurdle has been crossed, but it is not the end of the Congressional process and we need to wait for the final outcome,'' the Prime Minister said.

He said that during his stay in US, he had also met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He also held interactions with the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Norway.

UNI RB RP AS1732

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