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US-India civil nuclear agreement

26 August 2008

US-India civil nuclear agreement

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) discussions on the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement will resume in Vienna on 4 September, after two days of wide-ranging discussion on the Agreement at the end of last week, Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Goff said today.

The Agreement requires an exemption to NSG guidelines. This would allow any interested country to supply India with nuclear materials and technology to expand its civil nuclear programme, despite the latter not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

"The discussions last week were robust and constructive and we look forward to continuing this dialogue around a revised draft exemption text at next month's meeting," Phil Goff said.

"Around 50 amendments have been proposed to the original text, with many countries speaking in favour of amendments.

"The key function of the NSG is to formulate guidelines for managing exports of nuclear material, equipment and technology to ensure that this trade does not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation.

"Discussions in Vienna focused on how to ensure compatibility of these objectives with the exemptions, sought for the US-India Civil Nuclear Co-operation Agreement.

"While New Zealand remains a strong advocate of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and would welcome India's accession to these treaties, we have not included these elements in our package of proposals.

"New Zealand engaged constructively in the discussions, acknowledging potential benefits involved in the Agreement and its good relationship with both countries, while noting concerns and the need for consistency in pursuing the objective of non-proliferation.

"A large number of countries big and small expressed views similar to New Zealand's that there needed to be compatibility between the US-India Agreement and the goals of the NSG, and indicated a willingness to engage positively to achieve that outcome," Phil Goff said.


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