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Russia bristles at US scrapping nuclear deal

world Updated: Sep 09, 2008 23:18 IST
AP
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Russia's Foreign Ministry reacted angrily on Tuesday to the decision by the United States to pull out from a civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Moscow.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that US President George W Bush's decision yesterday to opt out of the deal was "erroneous and politicised."

The deal would have allowed Moscow to establish a lucrative business as the centre for the import and storage of spent nuclear fuel from American-supplied reactors around the world.

Bush had sent the agreement to Congress for approval in May, after a much-heralded signing by the two nations that capped two years of tough negotiations. Yesterday, he officially withdrew it, a move announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The US decision was to punish Moscow for its invasion and brief war last month with its tiny, US-allied neighbour Georgia. It was the culmination of a series of US actions, including a recently announced USD 1 billion foreign aid package for Georgia and a visit to that country by US Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Foreign Ministry said the withdrawal of the nuclear deal would deliver a blow to the US-Russian cooperation and would also damage US interests.

"The agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy was equally beneficial to Russia and the United States, so the decision to opt out of it will hurt the US nuclear industries no less than Russia's," it said.

The deal would have given Washington access to state-of-the-art Russian nuclear technology, while also increasing civilian nuclear energy use worldwide and helping to keep nuclear material out of terrorists' hands.

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