Egypt parliament discusses Saudi nuclear cooperation agreement

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 7 Aug 2016

A number of parliamentary committees have approved new ‎cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia, covering the two ‎areas of nuclear power and naval transport

Egyptian Parliament
A file photo of Egyptian Parliament, Photo taken January 10, 2016. (AFP)

Committees within Egypt’s parliament discussed on ‎Sunday new cooperation agreements signed with Saudi ‎Arabia, at the top of which is the nuclear power agreement signed during Saudi King Salman’s visit to Cairo in April.

According to a report prepared by parliament's Legislative and ‎Constitutional Affairs Committee, the agreement goes in line ‎with Egypt's laws and the constitution.

The ‎report explains that the agreement covers important areas of ‎cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the field of ‎‎"peaceful use of nuclear power."

"The agreement mainly aims ‎at exchanging expertise between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the ‎area of nuclear power stations and creating an environment for ‎institutional and legal cooperation between the two countries in ‎this important field," said the report.‎

The report also explains that greater cooperation ‎between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in nuclear power generation ‎could help the two countries meet their rapidly increasing ‎energy needs in the coming years.

"Nuclear power generation ‎has become a major source of energy in recent years and the ‎two countries will use this agreement to tap the potentials of ‎this sector," said the report.‎

The report also indicated that the agreement will help ‎provide training for Egyptian and Saudi personnel in the area of ‎managing and operating nuclear power stations and plants.‎

The report disclosed that the cabinet of Saudi Arabia, headed ‎by deputy Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Nayef, proposed in ‎September 2015 that an agreement be signed with Egypt in the ‎area of nuclear power generation due to Egypt's experience in this sector.

Egypt's Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker told reporters that Egypt and Russia are about to sign a final deal to build four ‎nuclear power plants in Egypt.

Shaker said the agreement is being revised by ‎Egypt's state council, and once complete it will be ratified by ‎parliament and the government. The Russian company ‎‎Rosatom will build the first plant in El-Dabaa, west of ‎Alexandria.‎

Parliament's transport and telecommunications ‎committee also approved another agreement between Egypt and ‎Saudi Arabia in the area of naval transport and seaports.

In a ‎meeting on Sunday, the committee, together with the national ‎security and defence committee, said the agreement will help boost the volume of ‎commercial and economic relations between the two ‎countries.

"The agreement also aims at exchanging expertise in ‎the area of naval transport and ports and coordinating their ‎positions in this sector in international conventions and ‎forums," said the committees' report.‎

The agreement, according to the report, will apply to ‎vessels and ships affiliated with the governments of the two ‎countries, although "it does not apply to warships or to fishing and ‎shipping vessels crossing the Suez Canal."‎

The agreement will also include a number of concessions and ‎privileges related to ships from the two countries passing through territorial waters. ‎

Egypt's parliament is expected to discuss an agreement that will ‎redraw borders between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea. ‎The agreement, which is currently being challenged by independent lawyers ‎before Egyptian courts, ‎places the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir under Saudi control.‎

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