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Time running out, Govt. tells Left

Negotiations with IAEA

New Delhi: The government has conveyed to the Left its keenness to hold negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), even as the UPA-Left committee on the India-United states civilian nuclear deal proceeds with its discussions.

At a meeting of the committee on Friday, the government proposed to convene a special session of Parliament to discuss the nuclear deal, provided the participation of the BJP is ensured.

Emphasising that it was necessary to hold negotiations with the IAEA as time was running out, the UPA conveyed to the Left that it could be too late for India to go ahead with the deal and there should be no regrets later.

Text of agreement

A senior leader, who is a member of the committee, said the Left leaders were told at the meeting that the government would show them the text of the final agreement before it was signed.

He said the Left parties had not responded to the two proposals so far, but were of the view that the committee could complete its work after two more rounds of discussions.

The government told the Left parties that time might be running out and it was necessary for it to start negotiations with the IAEA for operationalising the India-U.S. nuke deal even as it made clear to them that no formal talks were on with the agency.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad is learnt to have made an impassioned plea to the Left to back the deal, saying he did not want the good work being done by the government to be interrupted.

Friday’s meeting was the third after the committee was set up to go into the concerns and reservations expressed by the Left parties who are opposed to the deal.

The Left is strongly opposed to the government going ahead with operationalising the deal, including any negotiations with the IAEA for reaching a safeguards agreement. — PTI

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