Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nuclear Issues: US and UAE sign nuclear agreement

The United States has signed a nuclear cooperation deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), pledging to help it develop nuclear power despite concerns in Congress, Xinhua News Agency reports.

The deal is "a powerful and timely model for the region," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at the signing ceremony Thursday with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan.

The key to the deal is the UAE's willingness to import, rather than produce, fuel that would be used in its proposed nuclear reactors. "That really does minimize -- matter of fact, almost eliminates -- the proliferation risks," Rice told reporters.

It was reported the U.S.-UAE deal, one of the Bush administration's final foreign policy acts, could help the UAE become the first Arab nation to develop a nuclear power industry as early as in 2017.

To become law, the treaty needs to be presented to Congress. The incoming Obama administration will decide whether the agreement will be sent to Congress.

Obama's national security spokeswoman, Brooke Anderson, declined to say whether he supports the deal.

The UAE is one of a U.S. ally in the Gulf region. However, it is also among Iran's closest trading partners. U.S. officials have said in the past that the UAE has served as a major conduit for military technologies entering Iran.

Source: FOCUS Information Agency

Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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