The UAE has announced a new deal with Canada that will see the North American country sell nuclear technology to the Gulf state.
The news comes as the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) plans to build four 1,400-megwatt reactors over the next decade as it seeks to free up oil and gas resources for export.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, was in Ottawa on Tuesday to mark the announcement alongside his Canadian counterpart John Baird.
The deal marks the end of a spat between the two countries that began when Canada refused to allow extra landing rights for both Emirates and Etihad airlines.
In response, the UAE expelled Canada from Camp Mirage – the staging base for military operations in Afghanistan. The quarrel continued when Canada’s defence minister was refused to fly over UAE airspace.
Speaking about the deal, Sheikh Abdullah said it ends the rift and that “It…represents the trust between our two countries.”
The new allegiance will see the Gulf state buy nuclear technology and materials, such as uranium, from Canadian suppliers.
ENEC’s plans for the reactors recently crossed two major milestones, receiving regulatory approval and rights to award procurement contracts to various international firms for the supply of nuclear fuel to cover 15 years of operations.
A recent report by Booz & Company showed that the UAE’s strong adoption of the highest standards of security, transparency and non-proliferation have earned the country a reputation as a role model by international organisations – something Sheikh Abdullah alluded to as he described his country as a ‘model’ for the region in its use of nuclear power.
“It’s unfortunate that other countries – and here, obviously I’m talking about Iran – do not look at the bigger picture when it comes to civil nuclear programs,” he said.