M A I N   N E W S

No reopening of talks on Indo-US N-deal: Mulford
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 6
The Bush Administration will try its best to bring the Indo-US nuclear agreement to vote in the Senate during its lame-duck session beginning November 13, but in case it does not happen the entire legislative process will have to start all over again when the new Congress starts its session next early next year.

This was stated today by the US Ambassador here, Mr David C Mulford, who also made a significant statement that in case the Senate were unable to vote on the agreement next year, there would not be any reopening of negotiations between the US and India.

Mr Mulford, while talking to a select group of journalists at Roosevelt House, the official residence of the US Ambassador, was unequivocal on the chances of the Senate voting on the 123 agreement next month. He explained that when the old Senate meets after elections — a session normally referred to as a lame duck session — it normally takes up money matters and budget-related bills for consideration.

“But we are hopeful that en effort will be made (to put the 123 agreement to vote next month). We are not sure that it will be successful. If that happens (efforts are not successful), we will do it all over again next year. There might be delay but there is no reduction in the level of our commitment to the 123 agreement,” Mr Mulford said.

At the just-concluded session, the Senate simply ran out of time. The Senators were keen on going to their respective constituencies for the coming elections. Besides, there were differences of opinion on the methodology.

Mr Mulford said the Bush administration was optimistic that that the 123 agreement had bipartisan support from Democrats as well as Republicans and the Senate was expected to further improve upon the margin of voting as compared to 359-68 vote in the House of Representatives in favour of the deal some months ago.

The Ambassador said both Republicans and Democrats agreed on the need to pass the legislation. “I was in negotiations. The deal is the best that could have been struck between US and India,” he stated.



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