UPA-Left decide to meet again after renewed deadlock (Lead)

June 25th, 2008 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) India’s ruling coalition and its Left allies Wednesday said they would pursue efforts to end their flaming row over the India-US nuclear deal and meet again “in due course”. After about 100 minutes of talks at External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s residence, leaders of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its Left allies declared that an expected showdown had been averted.

Mukherjee read out a brief statement after the ninth UPA-Left nuclear committee meeting.

“The committee completed its discussions on all aspects of the nuclear agreement. The next meeting of the committee will be convened in due course to finalise its findings,” he told an army of reporters, reading out a prepared statement.

All members of the committee barring Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar attended the meeting. Pawar is in London to mark the 25th anniversary of India’s cricket World Cup victory of 1983.

Mukherjee did not elaborate. But Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: “The discussions are over. The (UPA-Left nuclear) committee will now present its findings at its next meeting.”

Wednesday’s meeting of the UPA-Left nuclear committee was called amid serious differences between the Congress-led UPA and its Left allies over the India-US nuclear deal.

While the prime minister is determined that India needs to go the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for an India-specific safeguards agreement over its civil nuclear reactors, the Left parties are bitterly opposed to this.

The Left has warned that it would withdraw its crucial legislative backing to the government if its word is not heeded.

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