14 January 2008 – President Nicolas Sarkozy of France will sign a nuclear cooperation accord with the United Arab Emirates during his visit to the Middle East, he told the pan-Arab daily newspaper Al Hayat.
The accord for cooperation in civilian nuclear activities, a first step toward building a nuclear reactor, would be the third France has signed recently with Muslim nations, after Libya and Algeria.
Starting his third trip to the region in three weeks, Sarkozy was visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
“I have often said that the Muslim world is no less reasonable than the rest of the world” in seeking civilian nuclear power “in full conformity with international security obligations,” Sarkozy told Al Hayat, which is based in London.
Building nuclear reactors for civilian use for these countries would mean lucrative contracts for France, which generates most of its own electricity from nuclear power. But such contracts also would send a message to Iran that rewards await nations that respect international rules and norms.