WASHINGTON (AFP) — President George W. Bush has green-lighted a civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Turkey, saying that private-sector proliferation worries have been addressed, the White House said Wednesday.
Bush on Tuesday sent the US Congress a July 2000 agreement, signed by then-US president Bill Clinton, that would clear the way for transfers of nuclear know-how to Turkey's planned civilian atomic sector, it said.
"In my judgment, entry into force of the Agreement will serve as a strong incentive for Turkey to continue its support for nonproliferation objectives and enact future sound nonproliferation policies and practices," Bush said in a letter to lawmakers dated Tuesday.
"It will also promote closer political and economic ties with a NATO ally, and provide the necessary legal framework for US industry to make nuclear exports to Turkey's planned civil nuclear sector," it said.
Lawmakers could pass legislation blocking the accord.
The agreement "permits the transfer of technology, material, equipment (including reactors), and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production," a White House official said.
"It does not permit transfers of sensitive nuclear technology, restricted data, or sensitive nuclear facilities or major critical components of such facilities," the official said.
The pact has an initial term of 15 years and provides for automatic renewal, in five-year increments, unless either side terminates it, according to the official.
The deal stalled shortly after being signed in July 2000 because US agencies received "information implicating Turkish private entities in certain activities directly relating to nuclear proliferation," the White House said.
"The pertinent issues have been sufficiently resolved," it said.
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