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'Only minor progress at NSG meet'

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September 05, 2008 12:16 IST

A leading critic of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal has claimed that only "minor" progress has been made at the end of the first day of Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting to consider a waiver for India in Vienna.

"Sources tell me that there was some progress on minor points, but serious differences remain on fundamental issues," Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association has said.

He said several "responsible" NSG states continue to insist on some basic conditions that parallel US law and policy, including no transfers of enrichment, reprocessing or heavy water production technology and termination of trade if India resumes testing.

Dismissing the proposal to include a provision for regular statement by the NSG chairman about New Delhi's adherence to its guidelines on global atomic trade, Kimball said it will have no lasting or binding effect on NSG policies.

"To try to assuage sceptics of the US proposal, the idea of a chairman's statement is being discussed. The problem is that such a statement has no lasting or binding effect on NSG policies regarding nuclear trade with India," Kimball said.

He also expressed doubt over the possibility of a consensus, saying Indian officials have threatened to "walk away" from the deal it they don't get exactly what they want".

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