MANAMA, BAHRAIN (21 April 2008) – UAE Foreign Minister, His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy on April 21, 2008 in Bahrain.
The signing of the UAE-US MOU follows the public launch by the United Arab Emirates of a detailed policy document on the evaluation and potential development of peaceful nuclear energy within the UAE. The UAE policy is based upon the principles of complete operational transparency and the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation. It also contains a number of commitments and strategies designed to ensure that these principles would be upheld by any UAE domestic nuclear program, including a pledge to forego any domestic enrichment or reprocessing capability in favor of long-term external fuel supply arrangements. Additionally the UAE policy calls for close and continuous coordination with the IAEA, as well as cooperation with the governments and firms of responsible nuclear supplier nations.
Commenting on the MOU signing, the Foreign Minister remarked that “the UAE-US Memorandum of Understanding represents an excellent example of the kind of cooperative relationships that the UAE hopes to forge with responsible nuclear supplier states in the area of peaceful nuclear energy.” Noting the potential mutual benefits to both parties from deepening cooperation in the development of the UAE’s domestic nuclear energy sector, the Foreign Minister further welcomed the prospect of negotiating a more extensive bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation (known as a “Section 123 Agreement” in the United States) which would establish the necessary legal basis for trade in significant nuclear commodities between the two countries.
The Foreign Minister also presented Secretary Rice with a diplomatic note endorsing the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. The United Arab Emirates is the 67th nation to join the Initiative, which is an action-oriented, flexible network of partner nations working to address all aspects of the nuclear terrorism threat, including deterrence, denial, detection, material confiscation, and response.