Friday, November 16, 2007

Sarkozy wants everyone to have nuclear power - French nuclear power

by Katrin Bennhold from The International Herald Times (US: New York)

After signing a memorandum of understanding with Libya in the summer, French president Nicolas Sarkozy struck a preliminary cooperation accord with Morocco last month. Diplomats say he is planning to discuss nuclear power during trips to Algeria in December and Saudi Arabia in January. Between them, state-controlled nuclear power giant Areva and Electricité de France are also talking to Jordan, the UAE, Turkey, Yemen, Egypt, Qatar and Tunisia. Regional cooperation on nuclear power is a pillar of the president's diplomatic pet project - a Mediterranean Union gathering countries in North Africa, the Middle East and southern Europe into a bloc. Sarkozy voiced the challenge quite starkly in a speech from Aug. 27. "Preventing a confrontation between Islam and the West is helping Muslim countries, as France proposes, to access the energy of the future: nuclear power." Failure to do so, he warned, would lead to "an explosion of terrorism." ... "The Saudis are terrified of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and will almost certainly try to acquire nuclear weapons, too," said Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Advisory Board in President George W. Bush's first term who is now a resident fellow at AEI. "We need to do a lot of work on safeguards before we start building reactors in countries where the risk of proliferation is high."

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