Tuesday, 15 January 2008

UAE and France sign landmark nuclear cooperation agreement

UAE and France sign landmark nuclear cooperation agreement
WAM Last updated: January 15, 2008, 18:55

Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Tuesday witnessed the signing of a landmark nuclear cooperation agreement between the United Arab Emirates and France.

The agreement - which was signed by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Bernard Kouchner, French Foreign and European Affairs Minister - provides a framework of cooperation between the two countries in the evaluation and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Under the agreement, the UAE and France will form a high-level joint committee to oversee cooperation in the areas of nuclear power generation, water desalination, basic and applied research, as well as in the fields of agronomy, earth sciences, medicine and industry.

Commenting after signing the deal, Shaikh Abdullah said: "The UAE is conducting wide consultations to create a responsible framework for the evaluation and possible implementation of a peaceful nuclear programme, ensuring compliance with the highest standards of non-proliferation, safety and security."

Towards this end, he said, the UAE is undertaking high-level government-to-government consultations with the governments of the United States, Germany, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea, specifically with regard to draft UAE policy on the evaluation and possible implementation of a peaceful nuclear programme in the UAE.

Shaikh Abdullah said similar direct consultations are also being sought with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), indicating that "it is the UAE government’s hope that the final policy may also serve as a replicable model for non-nuclear countries to evaluate and potentially implement a peaceful domestic nuclear programme with full support and backing of the international community."

He said in a statement that the announced initiatives are in addition and complimentary to the UAE’s commitment to be part of the GCC-wide initiative to explore the potential for peaceful nuclear power generation in the GCC.

The signing of the agreement between the UAE and France follows numerous official statements expressing the interest of the UAE in the peaceful use of nuclear energy to meet its growing internal demand for electricity and desalinated water.

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