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Nicolas Sarkozy confirms UAE nuclear deal

French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirms plans to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement with the UAE according to news reports.

world Updated: Jan 15, 2008 12:26 IST

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed plans to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement with the UAE amid reports French firms could construct up to two nuclear reactors in the country.

Sarkozy said in an interview with pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat before a three-day visit to Gulf states: "My visit to the United Arab Emirates will be ... The occasion to sign an agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

"I have said often that the Muslim world does not have less rights than the rest of the world to use civilian nuclear power to meet its energy needs in full conformity with the obligations that derive from international law."

French companies Areva, Total and Suez could build two, third-generation nuclear plants in the UAE, Al Jazeera Television said on Sunday. France has already made similar agreements with Algeria and Libya.

"The sharing of civilian nuclear [technology] will be one of the foundations of a pact of confidence which the West must forge with the Islamic world,"

Sarkozy said after signing a deal with Algeria last month. Sarkozy's latest move comes as US President George W Bush tours the region to rally support for his policy of isolating Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.