White House sends n-deal text to Congress for approval

September 11th, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 11 (IANS) In a race to beat the clock, the White House has sent the text of the proposed India-US civil nuclear deal to Congress for final approval after three days of hectic wooing of the lawmakers.In a statement late Wednesday, the White House said it was transmitting the text of the implementing 123 agreement and other relevant documents to the Congress which reconvened Monday after its August recess and is scheduled to adjourn Sep 26 ahead of the Nov 4 elections.

Along with the text of the agreement, Bush also sent a seven part Presidential Determination which is required under the US enabling law, the Hyde Act, for the Congress to take up the deal for consideration.

The ‘Hyde Amendment package’, as the paperwork is called, was sent to the Capitol Hill after three days of hectic efforts led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to push the US Congress to approve the deal quickly without insisting on a rule that requires a resting period of 30 days for the legislation.

The Bush administration pulled out all stops to push the deal after it helped win India a waiver for nuclear trade from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), removing the last hurdle in presenting the deal to the US Congress.

India had crossed the first hurdle by reaching an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for an additional safeguards protocol for its civilian nuclear facilities.

Rice rounded off her efforts to press the Congress with a meeting Wednesday with Senate majority leader Harry Reid. She had Tuesday met Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, who supports the nuclear deal but had reservations about the NSG waiver for India.

“The proposed Agreement provides a comprehensive framework for US peaceful nuclear cooperation with India,” the White House statement read.

“It permits the transfer of information, non-nuclear material, nuclear material, equipment (including reactors) and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. It does not permit transfers of any restricted data.

“Sensitive nuclear technology, heavy-water production technology and production facilities, sensitive nuclear facilities, and major critical components of such facilities may not be transferred under the Agreement unless the Agreement is amended,” the statement said.

The agreement “will remain in force for a period of 40 years and will continue in force thereafter for additional periods of 10 years each unless either party gives notice to terminate it six months before the end of a period”, it said, adding that either party can end the agreement before that “on one year’s written notice to the other party”.

Approving the proposed agreement and authorising the secretary of state to arrange for its execution, Bush said he had determined that:

1. India has provided the United States and the IAEA with a credible plan to separate civil and military nuclear facilities, materials, and programmes, and has filed a declaration regarding its civil facilities and materials with the IAEA;

2. India and the IAEA have concluded all legal steps required prior to signature by the parties of an agreement requiring the application of IAEA safeguards in perpetuity in accordance with IAEA standards, principles, and practices to India’s civil nuclear facilities;

3. India and the IAEA are making substantial progress toward concluding an Additional Protocol consistent with IAEA principles, practices, and policies that would apply to India’s civil nuclear programme;

4. India is working actively with the United States for the early conclusion of a multilateral treaty on the cessation of the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;

5. India is working with and supporting United States and international efforts to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technology to any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning enrichment or reprocessing plants;

6. India is taking the necessary steps to secure nuclear and other sensitive materials and technology;

7. The NSG has decided by consensus to permit supply to India of nuclear items covered by the guidelines of the NSG.

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