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Left balks at nuke talks, UPA continues formalities

Nov 20, 2007 09:46 AM IST India India
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New Delhi: Though the Left has not approved the nuclear deal, the UPA Government is making sure that all the adjuncts to the deal are falling into place.

Top nuclear negotiator DAE chief Anil Kakodkar will leave for Vienna on Tuesday, and Wednesday will see him holding talks on India-specific safeguards with his counterpart at the IAEA, Mohammad El-Baradei.

Kakodkar will also attend the two day IAEA board meeting which will begin on Thursday.

The discussion will be an informal one where he and El-Baradei will decide a time table for the formal negotiations between technical experts on both sides.

Although safeguards are expected to be finalised within the next few meetings, a formal time frame has not been given.

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said, "I don't want to give a time-line."

Equally cautious is US Ambassador David Mulford, who spent an hour with the Foreign Secretary on Monday, but had little to say publicly.

The US is still worried about the Left's power to veto the deal and despite Sonia Gandhi's strong backing for the nuclear deal on Saturday, no one is betting on a smooth ride just yet.