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PM talks to Putin on Iran vote, Indo-US nuke deal

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 5: Ahead of his reply in Parliament tomorrow to a discussion on India's vote against Iran at IAEA, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the issue and other matters, apparently including the Indo-US nuclear deal.

During the 20-minute telephonic conversation, initiated by the Indian side last evening, the two leaders "exchanged views" in context of tomorrow's crucial meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to consider the controversy over Iran's nuclear programme.

''The Prime Minister welcomed Russia's efforts to address the issue related to Iran's nuclear programme through dialogue and consultations,'' an official press note said today.

Besides making a statement in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday on the three-day visit of US President George W Bush, Dr Singh is slated to reply to a Lok Sabha discussion under Rule 193, initiated by the Left, which has taken strong exception to India voting against Iran twice at the IAEA, the last being on February 4 when the UN nuclear watchdog referred the issue to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions against Tehran.

IAEA has, however, advised UNSC not to take up the issue until the agency's next meeting. The one-month breather was to be utilised to thrash out the issue through negotiations.

The Left has warned the UPA government not to vote against Iran again at tomorrow's IAEA meeting.

Without referring to the Indo-US nuclear deal sealed last week during the historic visit of US President George W Bush, the press note said Dr Singh and Mr Putin "also discussed on-going co-operation in the field of civilian nuclear energy." The two leaders discussed implementation of areas of co-operation identified during their last Summit meeting in Moscow in December 2005 in context of the forthcoming visit of Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov in mid-March.

Mr Putin briefed Dr Singh about the G-8 Summit being hosted by Russia in St. Petersburg in July 2006. The Prime Minister conveyed his acceptance of President Putin's invitation to participate in a broader dialogue with G-8 at St. Petersburg.

The discussion between them also covered India-Russia bilateral economic and commercial relations. Dr Singh expressed satisfaction over the signing of the bilateral agreement on Russia's accession to the WTO recently in accordance with his commitment to Mr Putin during their last meeting.


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