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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2008, 15:40 GMT
Sarkozy to sign UAE nuclear deal
Nicolas Sarkozy (8 January)
France has already made similar agreements with Algeria and Libya
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has begun a Gulf tour, during which he is due to sign a nuclear co-operation deal with the United Arab Emirates.

He has arrived in Saudi Arabia and will go on to Qatar and the UAE over the next three days. All three are seeking to develop civilian nuclear programmes.

Mr Sarkozy has said the Arab world should have the same rights to such programmes as other states.

France has already signed nuclear agreements with Algeria and Libya.

Mr Sarkozy said the sale of such technology could foster trust between the West and the Muslim world.

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
Nicolas Sarkozy

France and the UAE are expected to sign an accord on co-operation in developing civilian nuclear energy, during a stop in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

After signing the deal with Algeria last month, Mr Sarkozy said: "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."

Selling a message

Correspondents say there has been a rush of interest in civilian nuclear technology among Arab countries in the past 18 months, with at least six expressing their interest to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Mr Sarkozy has been working to ensure that France benefits from any such proliferation - just as he has helped sell French nuclear know-how to China.

But analysts say he is equally keen to sell a message - that there is no Western monopoly on nuclear power.

US President George W Bush is currently touring the region to rally support for his policy of isolating Iran over its controversial nuclear activities.

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