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Obama approves nuclear energy deal with UAE

Latest update : 2009-05-21

US President Barack Obama has approved a deal with the United Arab Emirates calling for bilateral co-operation on the civilian uses of nuclear energy. Congress now has 90 days to approve or block the agreement.

AFP - US President Barack Obama on Thursday approved a civilian nuclear deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which some observers see as striking a contrast with Iran's defiant nuclear drive.

Obama sent the deal, negotiated by the previous Bush administration to Congress, which must now decide within 90 days whether to block the pact, which provides for US-UAE cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

His memorandum to the secretaries of state and energy, certifying that the deal was in US interests, did not mention US disquiet over a video of an Afghan merchant allegedly being beaten by a member of the UAE royal family, which raised human rights concerns in Congress.

The State Department has previously expressed concern over the video, but has not made a linkage between it and approval of the nuclear accord.

The video shows a man identified by the UAE as Sheikh Issa bin Zayed, apparently using a cattle prod on the Afghan man. The UAE government has recently said that the sheikh has been arrested.

The deal -- which comes even as the United States is spearheading a campaign against Iran's nuclear drive -- involves the exchange of nuclear materials and components for civilian use.

It is the first such deal between the United States and a Middle Eastern nation.

Date created : 2009-05-21