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Nuclear Suppliers Approve US-India Agreement


Nations that supply nuclear material have approved a civilian nuclear accord between the United States and India. VOA White House correspondent Scott Stearns reports, the deal must now clear the U.S. Congress.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, says it is an historic achievement that strengthens global nonproliferation while helping India meet its energy needs in an environmentally friendly way.

Johndroe says U.S. President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke by telephone following the decision and congratulated each other on the consensus reached by the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Vienna.

Johndroe says the United States especially appreciates the role Germany played in moving forward a process that he says is an important step toward strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and India.

After three days of talks, the nations that control the export and sale of nuclear technology agreed to lift a 34-year-old embargo on India, which has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand had opposed the waiver. In a written statement, the Austrian government says it agreed to the deal after India pledged not to set off a new nuclear arms race or share nuclear technology with other nations.

The International Atomic Energy Agency signed off on the U.S.-India accord last month. This approval from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group now leaves only the U.S. Congress as the final obstacle to ratification. American lawmakers adjourn later this month ahead of presidential and legislative elections in November.

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