Finally, 123 agreement will prevail: US envoy

October 3rd, 2008 - 12:17 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) Hours after the Senate approved the historic nuclear accord, the US Thursday underlined that arrangements in the 123 agreement are “binding” and will serve as the “law” governing civil nuclear cooperation with India.The US also underlined the weight of presidential commitments on fuel assurances which are also enshrined in the 123 agreement, but clarified that Washington cannot “compel” American companies to offer technology or supply fuel or compel other governments to do things in a particular way.

“In the 123 agreement, which is going to be a law, every single commitment is binding,” a beaming Mulford told reporters hours after the deal was approved overwhelmingly by the Senate.

He stressed that the commitments under the 123 agreement have been “preserved” in the Congressional process as no amendments have been made to its content and added that these commitments will be “faithfully honoured”.

Asked about the riders sought to be attached to the nuclear deal, Mulford said: “If you have any specific questions, you should refer to the 123 agreement.”

“That language (in the 123 Agreement) is intended to indicate that the 123 agreement is the law but not every single thing in it is binding because it can’t be. It is not possible for the US to compel its companies to do things,” he said.

He was responding to a question on whether the commitments in 123 agreement are political or legal.

He said the “commitments that remain are presidential commitments”.

“It is a simple thing. It has been blown out of proportion,” Mulford later told a TV channel that the 123 agreement will prevail over the legislation passed by the US Congress.

“Obviously, the 123 agreement is dominant. That will govern the relationship. That is the law,” he said when referred to the concerns in India over some aspects in the legislation passed by the US Congress.

Mulford pointed out that in the American processes, associated with the legislative process is legislative history wherein various parties make contributions like policy recommendations or observations or expressing their views and interpretations that they place in the legislation.

“The binding part of the arrangements are in the 123 agreement. That is where you look how civil nuclear relations will be normalised and governed between the US and India,” the ambassador said.

India and the US are expected to formally ink the 123 agreement Saturday. The 123 pact will be signed here by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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