UAE and US sign agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy

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UAE and US sign agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy
By Samir Salama, Associate Editor, and Abbas Al Lawati, Staff Reporter
Published: April 21, 2008, 12:33

Manama/Abu Dhabi: The United States became the second country with which the UAE signed an agreement on peaceful nuclear energy cooperation yesterday, as the top US diplomat praised the UAE as a “responsible power”.

Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State, met on the sidelines of the GCC summit in Manama, where a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy was signed. A similar agreement was signed with France in January.

“The UAE-US MoU represents an excellent example of cooperation the UAE hopes to forge with responsible nuclear supplier states. There are potential mutual benefits to both parties from deepening cooperation in the development of the UAE’s domestic nuclear energy sector,” said Shaikh Abdullah.

The Foreign Minister welcomed the prospect of negotiating a more extensive bilateral agreement with the US, which would establish the necessary legal basis for trade in significant nuclear commodities between the two countries.

“We are very supportive of what you are trying to do. As you know we think access to nuclear energy is very important. The UAE is a responsible partner and a responsible power,” Rice said at the signing ceremony.

Hamad Al Ka’abi, the Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for International Nuclear Cooperation, told Gulf News the agreement entails cooperation in developing nuclear infrastructure, training human resources and safeguarding of nuclear materials and facilities.

Al Ka’abi said the MoU does not provide for commercial contracts for American companies to build or operate nuclear plants.

Global initiative

He said the UAE will seek nuclear know-how from all responsible suppliers worldwide.

The government has also said it plans to establish a $100 million agency to look into developing nuclear energy to satisfy rising electricity demand.

GCC countries, the US, Egypt and Jordan said that they supported “the responsible and transparent development of civilian nuclear energy” in a statement.

Shaikh Abdullah also presented to his US counterpart a diplomatic note endorsing the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

– With additional inputs from Habib Toumi, Bahrain Bureau Chief, WAM and agencies