US-UAE 123 agreement enters into force

WASHINGTON, DC (17 December 2009) - Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba took part in an exchange of diplomatic notes at the State Department today, where he co-signed the US-UAE 123 Agreement for Peaceful Civilian Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. During the ceremony, he made the following remarks:

"I am delighted to be here today as the agreement on peaceful nuclear energy cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and the United States enters into force. This agreement supports a new global gold standard for the development of peaceful, civilian nuclear energy, by countries that need nuclear energy for their economic development.

Ambassador Al Otaiba and Under Secretary Tauscher exchange diplomatic notesAmbassador Al Otaiba and Under Secretary Tauscher exchange diplomatic notes

The UAE nuclear energy program is peaceful-by-design, developed with international agencies and other responsible governments, including the United States. Our responsibility is to ensure that the UAE will be successful in meeting the country's growing need for electricity, while eliminating the risk of proliferation.

The UAE has made a commitment not to enrich uranium or reprocess spent fuel. This means the UAE will not house these sensitive technologies. These commitments are enshrined in the agreement--the first time the United States has included them in a bilateral civilian nuclear agreement. We have also signed the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which ensures the most stringent inspections regime. We made these commitments to demonstrate our peaceful goals and to remove any ambiguity about our intentions. The UAE model will become even more important as the world grapples with how to enforce and strengthen the nonproliferation regime.

Finally, I want to note that this agreement enhances the already deep strategic relationship between the UAE and the United States. I want to acknowledge the Obama Administration for its support of the Agreement and to especially thank Secretary Clinton and Under Secretary Tauscher. I also offer my appreciation as well to Chairmen Berman and Kennedy for their leadership in facilitating Congressional review of the agreement. Finally, I would also like to thank Secretary Rice and her team with whom we began the 123 process more than two years ago.

With this and other international agreements and with the upcoming commercial selection, the UAE will move forward with our civilian nuclear energy program. As we do, we look forward to expanding our partnerships with a range of US companies, experts and government officials which represent the highest standards of safety, security, transparency, and nonproliferation."