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Manmohan: allow us to go to IAEA, NSG

Special Correspondent

“Once the process is over, I will bring it before Parliament and abide by the House”

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered to place before Parliament the civilian nuclear deal with the United States and to abide by the House, provided his government is allowed to complete the process of negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG).

“I have said it before. I will repeat it again that you allow us to complete the process. Once the process is over, I will bring it before Parliament and abide by the House,” he said on the side-lines of a function at his residence on Monday morning.

This is his first comment during the current stand-off with the Left.

“I am not asking for something that the government should not be doing. I am only saying you allow me to complete the negotiations. I agree to come to Parliament before I proceed to operationalise [the deal]. What can be more reasonable than this,” the Prime Minister asked.

Insisting that “all that I want is the authority to proceed with the process of negotiations through all stages like the IAEA and NSG that will not tie down the hands of the country,” Dr. Singh noted that the BJP and the Left parties would have an opportunity to discuss the deal in Parliament. “If Parliament feels you have done some wrong, so be it,” he said.

Asked about the Left’s stand of withdrawal of support to his government, the Prime Minister said “we will grapple with that stage when we come to it.”

Dr. Singh also refused to react to CPI(M) leader, Prakash Karat’s view that the current crisis was precipitated by the Prime Minister’s insistence on going to the IAEA.

He said: “There is nothing new in what the Left parties have said. I have not given up hope still.”

Dr. Singh, however, parried a question whether he would go to the G-8 summit in Tokyo.

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