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France, Egypt Reach Tentative Accord for the Construction of 8 Nuclear Power Stations in Egypt

February 13, 1981
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France and Egypt have reached a tentative agreement for the construction of eight nuclear power stations in Egypt. President Anwar Sadat, on a three-day visit announced the project at a meeting with Egyptian students here last night.

The agreement is due to be signed by French Minister for Energy Andre Giraud and his Egyptian counterpart, Ahmed Ezzedine Hillal, before Sadat’s departure tomorrow. It is understood that the project, one of the most ambitious yet developed by a Third World country, will provide all of Egypt’s electric needs by the end of the century.

French and Egyptian sources stressed that the Franco-Egyptian nuclear cooperation program will be geared exclusively to peaceful usages. Other sources in Paris stressed, however, that the development of a nuclear industry, the construction of several nuclear power stations and the operation of research laboratories will provide Cairo with the expertise and means to develop a nuclear weapon should it chose to do so.

According to the agreement, reportedly finalized yesterday by Sadat and President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Egyptian post-graduate students and nuclear engineers will be trained in France’s nuclear installations. France, one of the world’s main exporters of nuclear reactors, reportedly cooperated with Israel in the late 1950s to help develop Israel’s own nuclear installations at Dimona. French officials say that the Egyptian project, if finalized, would be one of the largest contracts in the field.


Sadat met today a French Jewish delegation to whom he said that the Camp David agreements remain "the cornerstone of my peace policy in the Middle East". A smiling and debonair Sadat, dressed in a turtle neck sweater and tennis shoes, told the delegation led by Alain de Rothschild, president of the Representative Council of Major Jewish Organizations in France (CRIF), "I rejoice not only every day but every moment about the peace process between Israel and Egypt."

Chief Rabbi Rene Sirat of France was also part of the delegation which apparently called on Sadat to try to further press upon the French government the need to support the Camp David agreements. A European Jewish delegation also called on Sadat when he last visited Paris three years ago. This time the delegation consisted exclusively of CRIF representatives.

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