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Senate passage of N-deal a great step: Rice

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November 17, 2006 21:20 IST

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday said the US welcomed the strong support for the historic US-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative shown by the 85-12 vote in the Senate.  

'This is a great step forward in realizing their shared vision that the world's oldest and largest democracies accomplish great things in the new century,' Rice said in a statement. 

'We thank the Senate and appreciate its willingness to consider the legislation promptly, the strong support of the Senate leadership, as well as the time and attention of many members of the Senate who crafted this legislation -- in particular Chairman Lugar, Ranking Member Biden, and their staffs,' she said.

'We look forward to the Senate-House Conference in December, when remaining issues of concern to the U.S. government can be addressed,' she added.

Observing that the successful implementation of the civil nuclear initiative was a key element of a new strategic partnership between the United States and India, Rice said: 'This initiative will help India meet its growing energy needs, enhance cooperation on energy security and nonproliferation, and increase economic investment opportunities.'
'We look forward to working with India to fully implement this agreement, to fulfilling the commitments made by President Bush and Prime Minister Singh in July of 2005 and March of 2006,' the US Secretary of State said.
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC