123 agreement not signed : India,US

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (UNI) The 123 agreement, the signing of which would complete the three-year long process of the Indo-US nuclear deal, was not signed today because of some ''administrative'' difficulties and would be inked ''shortly.'' US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who held discussions for more than an hour here, said at a joint press conference that the process had been completed but the signing would be done shortly.

Ms Rice arrived here this morning on a day-long visit for talks with the External Affairs Minister on completing the remaining procedures on the 123 agreement.

The two were expected to sign the 123 agreement, concluding the July 18, 2005, initiative.

The Bill, after it was passed by the US Senate, has to be signed by US President George W Bush for final signing by India and the US.

Replying to questions, the Secretary of State said the President would sign it ''very soon.'' ''There are administrative difficulties which need to be worked out. the Bill has to be transferred to the White House,'' she said.

The External Affairs Minister said so far the signing was concerned, after signing by the President the process would be completed.

''After that we will be in a position (of signing) I hope it will be signed shortly,'' he said.

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