December 4, 2006 - MARKEY, DEMS URGE CONFEREES NOT TO GUT U.S.-INDIA NUCLEAR DEAL, KEEP KEY STRONG NON-PROLIFERATION PROVISIONS

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), the co-chair of the House Bipartisan Taskforce on Nonproliferation, sent a letter in anticipation of the House-Senate conference committee on the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement, outlining which provisions of each bill which nonproliferation advocates believe must be retained in the final legislation.  The letter to House International Relations Chairman Henry J. Hyde and Ranking Member Tom Lantos lists five provisions of the House bill, and seven provisions of the Senate bill, which would strengthen the agreement from a nonproliferation perspective.

Rep. Markey said, “This has always been a bad deal.  It’s a nuclear giveaway to India that strikes a harsh blow to efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and technology.  Now President Bush trying doing his best to make it even worse.  Why in the world would Secretary Rice ask that Congress remove all of the provisions which would strengthen nonproliferation, such as requiring India to help the United States prevent Iran from going nuclear?  Since it certainly is not in the United States’ interests to see Iran go nuclear, whose foreign policy is the State Department promoting?  It seems as if the Administration is trying to remove the fig leaf from this flawed deal.”

The letter, written by Rep. Markey and signed by a senior group of Representatives who supported and opposed the President’s proposal, stated, “… all of us consider halting the proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies to be a paramount national security and foreign policy interest of United States.  We therefore wish to strongly urge you to ensure that several critical nonproliferation provisions contained in the Senate and House bills are included in any final conference report.”

Among the key provisions which the lawmakers are urging Reps. Hyde and Lantos to preserve in the conference committee are:

- A requirement that India fully support U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons;
- A requirement that International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards have entered into force in India before U.S. nuclear materials are provided;
- A requirement that the President report to Congress whether U.S. civil nuclear assistance to India assists their nuclear weapons program in any way;
- A requirement that if the United States terminates nuclear-related transfers to India, for example as a result of an Indian nuclear test, the U.S. will work to prevent India from switching to another nuclear supplier.”

In the face of strong pressure from the Bush Administration and the Indian government to use the conference committee to strip out crucial nonproliferation conditions imposed by Congress, the Representatives agreed that the twelve provisions listed in the letter are “critical” to nonproliferation.  On November 30, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent a letter to Reps. Hyde and Lantos pressing them to remove or weaken almost all of the provisions in the House and Senate bills which strengthened nonproliferation.  The letter also responds to Sec. Rice’s concerns.

Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), John M. Spratt (D-SC), Jane Harman (D-CA), Ellen O. Tauscher (D-CA), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ), and Rick Larsen (D-WA).

A PDF copy of the letter can be found here: 12-04-06 - Letter to House Conferees - India nuclear deal.pdf
For more on Rep. Markey’s nonproliferation work, please go to: http://markey.house.gov.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein
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