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Obama okays nuclear deal with United Arab Emirates

President Barack Obama has agreed to share US nuclear power technology with the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, giving his consent to a deal signed in the final days of George W Bush's administration.

world Updated: May 21, 2009 10:19 IST

President Barack Obama has agreed to share US nuclear power technology with the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, giving his consent to a deal signed in the final days of George W Bush's administration.

The pact now goes to Congress, which will have 90 days to amend or reject it.

The agreement creates a legal framework for the US to transfer sensitive nuclear items to the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven Middle Eastern states that wants nuclear power to satisfy growing demand for electricity.

Although flush with oil, the emirates imports 60 percent of the natural gas they use to generate electricity. The United Arab Emirates wants to break its dependence on outside sources for its energy needs and settled on nuclear power as the best option.

Some US lawmakers have called for the United Arab Emirates to keep Iran from getting material it could use to develop nuclear weapons.

In a statement, Obama on Wednesday said he considered the agreement and determined that it "will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defence and security.