x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

US revives nuclear deal with Russia

President Barack Obama plans to resubmit to Congress a nuclear power pact that his predecessor angrily cancelled two years ago.

President Barack Obama planned to resubmit to Congress a nuclear power pact with Russia today, that his predecessor angrily cancelled two years ago after Russia invaded neighbouring Georgia. The move is another sign of warming relations between the US and Russia, which have previously clashed over Nato expansion plans and Moscow's claim of a zone of "privileged interest" along its borders. The White House released a letter from Mr Obama to Congress late Monday saying that the situation in Georgia "need no longer be considered an obstacle" to the agreement.

The US president noted that Russia currently is co-operating with the US in pushing for new sanctions against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons programme. Mr Obama also cited the signing April 13 of the New START treaty limiting nuclear arsenals and the creation last year of a bilateral presidential working group on nuclear energy and security as examples of Russia's "increased co-operation." The revived deal would allow the countries to exchange nuclear energy technology, engage in joint commercial nuclear power ventures and collaborate on non-proliferation goals.

Mr Obama's decision to resubmit the nuclear agreement is the latest milestone in his administration's attempts to reset relations with Russia, a major goal of his foreign policy. President George W Bush signed and sent the nuclear power agreement to Congress in May 2008, but withdrew it in September, a month after Russia invaded its much smaller, West-leaning neighbour to the south. * AP