US rescinds nuclear cooperation deal with Russia

September 9th, 2008 - 4:16 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 9 (DPA) The US has pulled a civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Russia from congressional consideration in response to Russia’s ongoing conflict with Georgia, the White House said Monday.Pulling the nuclear agreement was one of many steps under consideration by the US in response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia which has brought relations between the two powers to their lowest level since the Cold War.

In a letter to Congress, President George W. Bush said Russia’s actions had been “incompatible with peaceful relations with its sovereign and democratic neighbour Georgia”, forcing the White House to kill the deal for the time being.

Russia said it regretted the move.

The agreement would have expanded the two countries’ cooperation on civilian nuclear energy, boosted business ties and aided non-proliferation efforts.

“We make this decision with regret. Unfortunately, given the current environment, the time is not right for this agreement,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement.

In Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said the development “gives us much to regret”, according to Interfax news agency.

“This decision goes against the tide of bilateral relations,” an official was quoted as saying.

“Cooperation in the sphere of civil nuclear power is no less important to Russia, than it is to the US,” the foreign ministry source told Interfax.

In another sign of rising tensions between the one-time Cold War enemies, Russia confirmed Monday it would send warships and planes to participate in joint exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean this year.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has spearheaded an alliance of non-aligned states against the US and has sought closer ties with Russia, including by making several large weapons purchases in recent years.

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