Sarkozy to sign UAE nuclear deal
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed that he will sign a nuclear co-operation deal with the United Arab Emirates during his regional tour.
It will be the third such deal Mr Sarkozy has made with Muslim countries since taking office in May last year.
He said the Arab world should have the same rights to civilian nuclear programmes as enjoyed by others.
Mr Sarkozy said the sale of such technology could foster trust between the West and the Muslim world.
Mr Sarkozy is travelling to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - three Gulf states interested in developing a civilian nuclear programme despite huge oil and gas wealth.
France and the UAE are expected to sign an accord on co-operation in developing civilian nuclear energy, during a stop in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
France has already made similar agreements with Algeria and Libya.
After signing the deal with Algeria last month, Mr Sarkozy said: "The sharing of civilian nuclear [technology] will be one of the foundations of a pact of confidence which the West must forge with the Islamic world."
Correspondents say there has been a rush of interest in civilian nuclear technology among Arab countries in the past 18 months, with at least six expressing their interest to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mr Sarkozy has been working to ensure that France benefits from any such proliferation - just as he has helped sell French nuclear know-how to China.
But analysts say he is equally keen to sell a message - that there is no Western monopoly on nuclear power.
US President George W Bush is currently touring the region to rally support for his policy of isolating Iran over its controversial nuclear activities. ( BBC )