UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French President Nicholas Sarkozy witnessed on Tuesday the signing of a landmark bilateral nuclear co-operation agreement between the UAE and France.
The agreement, which was signed by UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner, provides a framework for cooperation between the two countries in the evaluation and potential 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.
After signing the deal, Sheikh 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 added, the UAE is undertaking high-level government-to-government consultations with the governments of the US, Germany, France, Russia, China, the UK, Japan and South Korea, specifically with regard to draft UAE policy document on the evaluation and possible implementation of a peaceful nuclear programme in the UAE.
Sheikh Abdullah said that similar direct consultations are also being sought with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "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.”
Sheikh Abdullah confirmed 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.
Sarkozy arrived in the UAE on Tuesday after stops in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. France has already signed civilian nuclear accords with Libya and Algeria.
According to sources, UAE authorities would prefer to sell their oil, which is trading at close to $100 a barrel, rather than use it to produce electricity. (WAM)