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Japan, Iraq talk nuclear energy: minister

by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Jan 10, 2011
Japan's trade minister has expressed interest in cooperating with Iraq on nuclear energy, the Iraqi interim electricity minister said on Monday after talks in Baghdad.

"We discussed this issue with the Japanese minister, and he desires to cooperate with Iraq in this field," Hussein al-Shahristani said at a joint news conference with Akihiro Ohata, asked if they discussed nuclear energy.

"Iraq will study developing its peaceful nuclear industry," Shahristani said.

The UN Security Council on December 15 ended key international sanctions in force against Iraq since Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait that diplomats said will allow Baghdad to launch civilian nuclear activities.

Shahristani, who is a deputy prime minister, also said he would welcome Japanese participation in a planned fourth round of bidding for oil contracts in Iraq.

"Japanese companies are preparing to enter the next round of bidding," Japan's trade minister said.

The two also discussed development projects, including for the electricity sector, Shahristani said.

"We agreed on speeding up development projects," he said. "Japan is studying the possibility of providing long-term facilitated loans to guarantee projects, including electricity projects."

"A Japanese trade delegation will visit Iraq next month to discuss cooperation in the fields of energy, transportation and entering the Iraqi market to develop it," Shahristani said.

Iraq has a severe shortage of electricity.

The country saw violent protests last August over power supply cuts, after which the electricity minister resigned. Shahristani is the interim head of the ministry.

"We are keen on developing relations through improving cooperation in different fields such as industry and electricity, and we are ready to provide support to achieve development in Iraq," Ohata said.

Ohata, who is touring the region to promote Japan's infrastructure technology and seek stable oil supplies, was the first Japanese minister to visit Iraq since 2008.

The tour aims to encourage Japanese firms to do more business and invest in war-battered Iraq, as they remain cautious due to security worries, Japan's news agency Kyodo said.

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Medvedev ratifies nuclear energy pact with Japan
Moscow (AFP) Jan 8, 2011
The Russian president on Saturday ratified a civil nuclear energy pact with Japan that allows the transfer of Japanese technology to Russia and the sale of more Russian uranium to energy-poor Japan. President Dmitry Medvedev ratified the pact after it was passed by the lower and upper houses of the Russian parliament in December last year, the Kremlin said in a statement on its website. R ... read more

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