PM looks forward to discussing ‘entire range of issues’ with Bush

September 22nd, 2008 - 12:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said he looked forward to his meeting with US President George W. Bush in Washington later this week to discuss the entire range of issues on the bilateral agenda, including on the civil nuclear initiative.He leaves Monday afternoon on a 10-day visit to the US and France. He is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York as well as attend the India-European Union Summit in Marseille and a bilateral summit meeting with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

One of the high points of the prime minister’s visit will be his meeting with President Bush and there is a possibility the two sides may sign the long-awaited India-US nuclear deal.

“At the invitation of President Bush I will visit Washington. I look forward to my discussions with him on the entire range of issues on our bilateral agenda with the United States, including our civil nuclear initiative,” Manmohan Singh said in a statement before his departure.

“In recent years our relations have expanded significantly in areas of interest to us such as education, trade, business, technology, energy and agriculture,” the prime minister said.

He added: “The engagement between the two countries has strengthened and we are pursuing the multi-faceted cooperation to our mutual benefit.”

The prime minister will make a technical halt in Frankfurt Monday night before leaving for New York Tuesday. He will address the UN General Assembly Sep 26 and also attend the UN’s high-level event on Millennium Development Goals.

While in New York, he is scheduled to have a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UNGA, including one with Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and another with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

On Sep 25 he will fly down to Washington for his meeting with President Bush.

From the US, Manmohan Singh will leave for France.

“I am confident that my visit will lead to the further consolidation of our relations in the areas of trade and investment, defence, space, civil nuclear cooperation and high technology,” he said.

After the summit in Marseilles on Sep 29, the prime minister will leave for Paris to hold the bilateral summit with French President Sarkozy.

A focus of discussion between Manmohan Singh and the French will be civil nuclear cooperation. India and France have ‘initialled’ an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation, but are yet to conclude it.

“India’s relations with France are longstanding and of strategic importance,” the prime minister said in his departure statement.

He added: “I am confident that my visit will lead to the further consolidation of our relations in the areas of trade and investment, defence, space, civil nuclear cooperation and high technology.”

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