M A I N   N E W S

Bush Phone-in
N-deal concerns remain: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today told US President George W Bush that India still had some concerns over the Indo-US nuclear deal, though many had already been addressed in Mr Bush’s signing statement.

Dr Manmohan Singh received a telephone call from President Bush this evening.

The two leaders expressed happiness at the strengthening of the bilateral relations highlighted in President Bush’s initiative to amend US laws to enable bilateral civil nuclear cooperation, which received strong bipartisan support in the United States Congress.

Both leaders expressed the hope that remaining concerns will be addressed in the next stage of negotiation. The two leaders also discussed other subjects including regional matters. The Prime Minister conveyed seasons’ greetings to President Bush and Mrs Bush.

Washington: Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Mahmud Ali Durrani has said the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal does not “worry” Islamabad, although there is recognition that the uninspected Indian reactors could be used to produce weapons-grade material, UNI adds.

In an interview to the Washington Post, Mr Durrani said, he had talked to Pakistan senior nuclear military expert and was told that “the pact does not worry him”.

“We have a strong deterrent,” the Ambassador said he was told, and as India appears to progress, “we will too”.

Earlier, he said it was “premature” to say that tribes along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border were not living up to an agreement to prevent crossings by Taliban and Al-Qaida fighters.

“Give it more time,” Mr Durrani said of the September pact with tribal elders of North Waziristan, which he noted covers only a small part of the much longer border between the two countries.

“It is premature to say the agreement is a failure,” he said in response to a question about Director of US National Intelligence John D Negroponte’s statement last week that back-and-forth travel by the Taliban and others “causes serious problems”.

Mr Durrani, a former senior Pakistan army officer, said his country was increasing the number of its troops at border crossings and was seeking US weaponry, including night-vision and listening equipment.



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