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Deal is within framework: US

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November 18, 2006 01:22 IST

Notwithstanding India's concerns over some parts of the enabling legislation to the facilitate the US-India civilian nuclear agreement that was approved by the Senate Thursday with a thumping 85-12 margin, United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, the chief US negotiator of the deal, has stated that the Bush Administration "conforms to the agreement that we negotiated with India."

In a conference call with a few Washington-based journalists immediately after he had called his fellow Indian negotiator Shyam Saran in New Delhi and congratulated each him, Burns acknowledged, "We also understand that there are some amendments from both the House and Senate bills that the Indian government would like to see modified."

"There is also the conference ahead of us and I am sure we'll have a chance to sit down with the conferees in the House and Senate and suggest perhaps some subtle revisions to the language to take account of some of these concerns," he said.

"We've been talking to the House and Senate about that and we'll continue that and this is how the American legislative process works. The conference will iron out any remaining issues and these are issues we believe can be resolved."

But Burns reiterated that "we are pleased with this bill and we do think it conforms to the agreement we negotiated with India and are very thankful to the Senate and House for having passed it."

He noted that the Administration had been informed the Senate and House would meet in the early part of December to reconcile both bills. "I would then make a trip to India in the middle part of December, where we would seek to close all the remaining issues between the governments."

Burns predicted: "We'll go ahead very briskly with these 123 Agreement negotiations and I expect after this resounding vote in favor by the Senate, we are going to see these negotiations finish very, very soon."

"And, then we would help the Indian government as will many others to make the case to the Nuclear Suppliers Group -- the rest of the countries of the world that the NSG should also act," he said.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC

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