UAE and UK sign MoU on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
Abu Dhabi, May 15th, 2008 (WAM): United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom signed here today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, HE Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, and the UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham signed the MoU at a ceremony, which was attended by officials from both countries.
The MOU establishes a framework, through which the two nations may cooperate in the further development of the UAE's civilian nuclear infrastructure to enhance safety and support the efforts of the international community to prevent nuclear proliferation. It further contemplates training and other knowledge-sharing arrangements in various peaceful applications of nuclear energy, including the generation of electricity, nuclear medicine and agriculture.
The signing of the UAE-UK MOU follows the public launch by the United Arab Emirates of a detailed policy document on the evaluation and potential development of peaceful nuclear energy within the UAE. The UAE policy is based on the principles of complete operational transparency and the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation.
It also contains a number of commitments and strategies designed to ensure that these principles would be upheld by any UAE domestic nuclear program, including a pledge to forego any domestic enrichment or reprocessing capability in favour of long-term external fuel supply arrangements. Additionally the UAE policy calls for close and continuous coordination with the IAEA, as well as cooperation with the governments and firms of responsible nuclear supplier nations.
Commenting on the MOU, Sheikha Lubna said: "the Memorandum of Understanding creates an excellent platform for the UAE to benefit from the high level of technical competence and experience possessed by the United Kingdom in the area of peaceful nuclear energy. It also provides a new avenue for deepening this long-standing and important bilateral relationship".
Lord Jones of Birmingham said: "I am delighted to sign this important agreement. It opens the way to a new and exciting chapter in the active practical cooperation between our two countries, and epitomises the forward-looking agenda we share".
"We welcome the United Arab Emirates' responsible approach to developing a civil nuclear programme and the UAE Government's commitment to maximising security, confidence and transparency, including non-domestic enrichment or reprocessing capability policies and strategies. The UAE White Paper's proposal of a light water reactor programme backed by multiple non-proliferation commitments would make it an excellent model for countries with or considering developing a civil nuclear programme"; the British Minister of State added.
Asserting that nuclear power can make a real contribution to meeting UK's commitments to transition to a low carbon economy whilst enhancing energy security, the Minister pledged his country's support to the development of safe, secure, and economically viable civil nuclear power generation and research programmes.
"Over many years the UK has developed a wealth of expertise and experience on civil nuclear business, on which the UAE will be most welcome to draw; and I hope that we can learn from each other as we develop our respective civil nuclear programmes. Signature of the MOU has been an important first step, and the UK looks forward to working closely with the UAE on these crucially important issues in the months and years ahead"; the Minister added.
He welcomed the UAE's intention to adopt relevant international agreements, including the Additional Protocol, and their determination to ensure the safety and security of nuclear material throughout the process.
The signing ceremony was attended by Director General of Ministry of Foreign Trade Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, UAE's Foreign Ministry officials, the delegation accompanying British Minister of State for Trade and Investment and the British Ambassador to UAE Edward Anthony Oakden.