IAEA meet on Aug 1, India hopeful of NSG nod: Pranab

July 24th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said that the 35-member IAEA board will meet Aug 1 in Vienna to consider the proposed India-specific safeguards agreement and expressed hope that the deal will pass muster in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) too. “It would be too premature to comment right now,” Mukherjee told reporters when asked about a timeline for completing the nuclear deal.

“It is difficult to give the exact time frame, but we hope that we will get the support of all countries,” he said when asked whether he was confident of getting support of the 45-nation NSG for restoring global nuclear commerce with India.

The US is planning to convene a meeting of the NSG early September after the IAEA board approves the India-specific safeguards agreement.

The US government is hopeful that its 123 bilateral agreement with India can be presented to the US Congress for an up and down vote early September, US ambassador David Mulford had said Wednesday.

The government has deputed ministers and senior diplomats to woo NSG countries and members of the IAEA board so that the next two steps can be concluded well in time for Congressional approval before India and the US can ink the agreement.

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