Centre engaged with IAEA to finalise safeguards agreement: Pranab Mukherjee

February 3rd, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by admin  

By Soma/Shakil

Koklata, Feb 3 (ANI): Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that the Centre was engaged in discussion with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to finalise India specific safeguards agreement for the much-touted Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

After chalking out the safeguards agreements at the IAEA level, the draft will be discussed with the Left parties before giving any final shape to the bilateral agreement, Mukherjee said at 176th Annual General Meeting of Calcutta Chamber Of Commerce.

Earlier last month, Mukherjee had rejected suggestions that the Unite Progressive Alliance (UPA) Governments capacity to operationalise the deal has weakened after the Congress debacle in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

After too much of hue and cry, the Left parties had given the green signal to the Centre to approach the IAEA for holding talks on an India-specific safeguards agreement.

However, the Left had asked the government not to initiate any accord, but bring back the draft of the safeguards agreement to the UPA-Left Committee.

Mukherjee convenes the 15-member UPA-Left panel on the nuclear deal, which was formed to resolve disagreements between the two sides over the nuclear deal.

The Indo-US nuke-deal faces an informal US deadline related to securing approval of America’s Congress well before the this year presidential polls.

Three steps are required to operationalise the deal that include, safeguards agreement with the IAEA, amendment in the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group’s charter and the passing of the 123-agreement by the US Congress. (ANI)

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