Remarks at Signing Ceremony for U.S.-U.A.E. Agreement on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear EnergySecretary Condoleezza Rice
Benjamin Franklin Room
January 15, 2009
MODERATOR:Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The United States Secretary of State, the Honorable Condoleezza Rice and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, today are signing the U.S.-U.A.E. Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Secretary of State.
SECRETARY RICE: Good afternoon. (Applause.)
Good afternoon. I am delighted to join my colleague and – my very close colleague and friend, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, to sign this important Agreement on Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear – Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Cooperation.
We’re here to sign this as a tangible expression of the United States’ desire for active cooperation with states in the Middle East and around the world to meet their energy needs in a manner that is consistent with the highest standards of safety, of security, and of nonproliferation.
The President and I have both said on a number of occasions that nuclear power must be an important energy source throughout the world as states strive to meet growing energy needs, while at the same time working to eliminate harmful greenhouse gas emissions. We applaud the U.A.E.’s commission – commitment to the highest standards of safety, security, and nonproliferation in its pursuit of nuclear power.
As expressed in the agreement we are signing today, the U.A.E. is choosing to pursue nuclear power via the import of nuclear fuel, rather than developing expensive and proliferation-sensitive fuel cycle technologies, such as uranium enrichment and reprocessing. This is a powerful and timely model for the world and the region, and we welcome the U.A.E.’s decision.
U.S. industry is already contributing to the development of a nuclear power program in the U.A.E., and this agreement will facilitate its further involvement. We believe our technology is the best in the world, and we hope that the U.A.E. will give that technology strong consideration.
But in any case, we are very proud to sign this agreement. It is, in fact, a symbol also of the deepening cooperation that we have enjoyed with the U.A.E. Your Highness, I think during the last several years we have cooperated well on a variety of issues. I thank you for your attendance at the Annapolis conference to try to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We have been partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, plus Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and the United States. And I know that my successor will find that we have a strong bilateral relationship with the U.A.E., but a strong bilateral relationship that is, indeed, being put to good use to solve the world’s most difficult problems. Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER ABDULLAH: Thank you, Madame Secretary.
Madame Secretary, I’m delighted to be here today in the cold Washington weather – (laughter) -- after being in a warm Middle East.
Madame Secretary, I’m really delighted to have the honor to be next to you today and sign on behalf of my government this very important agreement. This is an agreement that would further our relationship to a new era of cooperation and, I hope, development. The U.A.E. has been quite transparent about its nuclear, peaceful needs. We are a country that is very rich in its oil and gas, but we do look forward that we have a program, a nuclear, peaceful program that could sustain our future needs. The U.A.E. is a very – as you’ve been seeing in the last few years, we have been growing rapidly. And we are proud that we are the U.S.’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, in northern Africa, and I’m sure that this agreement will – as you mentioned, will give U.S. interests a better way and a newer way of cooperation between our two countries.
Madame Secretary, I’m very delighted that our relationship has been growing in all fields. And you’ve been a great ally and a great friend for myself, but also for our relationship. But also, in terms, as you mentioned, in having the dialogue between the GCC, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt. It’s – we had many interesting meetings. And I’m very delighted that you’ve reported that to your colleague, the new Secretary of State. And I’m sure she will follow your footsteps, but I’m sure that your advice, and the relationship and the support that she could get from my country.
Thank you, Madame Secretary.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(The Agreement of Cooperation is signed.) (Applause.)