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India, US claim progress on nuclear dealnews
02 May 2007

Mumbai: India and the United States have claimed extensive progress during two days of talks aimed at salvaging their landmark nuclear cooperation agreement and said they are inching closer to a deal.

"The discussions were positive and the US is encouraged by the extensive progress that was made on the issues," state department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement. "We look forward to resolving the outstanding issues in the weeks ahead," he added.

The remarks were a return to upbeat rhetoric after several weeks during which senior US officials - who initially predicted the deal would be quickly negotiated - expressed frustration with Indian objections and fear the deal was unravelling.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, the main US negotiator, who met with Indian foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, said: "We made progress on a number of key issues, we only have a few outstanding."

He said he is visiting India in the second week of May to resolve the remaining differences.

"We''ve made considerable progress forward" and an agreement is "doable," said an upbeat Menon. But he was less precise about a completion date, saying, "We hope to finalise it as soon as we can."

However, neither Menon nor Burns revealed how the major issues might be resolved, and merely said agreed details should be secret until all disputed points were worked out.

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India, US claim progress on nuclear deal