Washington (Jun. 30)
The United States and Egypt have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement which Secretary of State Alexander Haig termed a “model” for peaceful nuclear cooperation.
“This is precisely the kind of agreement that we need in the Mideast,” Haig told reporters after the State Department ceremony yesterday in which he and Egyptian Minister of Electricity Mohammed Osman Abaza signed the accord. Haig said that Israel “has been kept abreast” of the agreement. Congress has 60 days to accept or reject the new accord.
The agreement allows American companies to sell Egypt reactors and uranium for a 2000 megawatts electric generator. State Department officials stressed that the agreement gives the U.S. the option of removing spent nuclear fuel if there is a danger of it being converted for military use. U.S. officials said that another safeguard is a requirement that the reprocessing of spent fuel take place in a third country agreed upon both by Egypt and the U.S.
The agreement signed yesterday grew out of an informal offer of nuclear cooperation made by President Nixon to both Egypt and Israel in 1974, which was not implemented. Israel was offered an agreement in 1979 similar to the one accepted yesterday by Egypt but rejected it because it required international inspection of Israeli nuclear facilities.