Nuclear Deal:India gets positive response from African nations

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New Delhi, Aug 1 (UNI) African members of the IAEA Board of Governors had assured India that they would work with other delegations to foster support for the Indo-US nuclear Deal at the Agency's Board of Governors meeting.

The assurance by four African members of the IAEA Board of Governors viz. Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia was given to Special Envoy of the Prime Minister and Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma when he visited these countries this week.

South Africa is also member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) where it has promised to suport India.

Meanwhile, the IAEA board of governors at its meeting held today in Vienna unanimously approved an inspections agreement with India that is key to finalising a nuclear deal between New Delhi and Washington.

India still needs a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) -- a group of 45 states exporting nuclear fuel and technology -- and ratification by the US Congress before the deal can be operationalised.

Mr Sharma presented a letter from Prime Minister of Manmohan Singh to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia seeking support from it at the Board of Governors meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which was held today.

He explained India's keenness to enhance its civil nuclear energy programme in cooperation with other countries, as this would contribute to its economic development by meeting its energy demands.

Mr Sharma's visit to Ethiopia was the last leg of a tour undertaken by the Minister, starting with the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers' Meeting, ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Singapore from 22-24 July, 2008.

During his visit to Nigeria from July 27 to 28, he had meetings with President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, and Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe.

He met President Thabo Mbeki, during his visit to South Africa on July 29. Earlier in the week, he had a meeting with President John Kufuor of Ghana.

Unequivocal support from all these countries who have stood by their commitments made to India for partnerships in earlier meetings was assured.

In his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, the Special Envoy explained in detail the approach to civil nuclear cooperation, its necessity, impact and why India had chosen the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) special safeguards route.

In both meetings, discussions also took place on the continuing cooperation between India and Ethiopia in the development of infrastructure, industry, agriculture and services in Ethiopia.

It was noted that India was now among the leading investors in Ethiopia and these investors were welcome for their positive contribution to the development of Ethiopia in a democratic framework.

Mr Sharma also had a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Jean Ping at which the follow up of the decisions of India Africa Forum Summit were discussed.


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