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Russia,China sign billion $ energy deal

By Raghavendra in Beijing
May 23, 2008 23:31 IST
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Russia and China on Friday signed a US$ one billion deal under which Moscow would build a nuclear fuel enrichment plant and deliver uranium to Beijing as the two strategic partners condemned the United States for its proposed missile defence plans.

The deal was signed by Chinese and Russian officials in presence of visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People.

Medvedev is on his first foreign trip since becoming President earlier this month.

Under the deal, Russia would build a US$ 500 million nuclear fuel enrichment plant and supply low enriched uranium to energy hungry China. China has plans to boost its nuclear energy production by building more plants to meet its needs.

In a joint statement signed by the two leaders after two hours of talks, the two countries expressed concern over the US missile defence plan, saying it was not conducive to strategic balance and stability. They said the missile defence plan would negatively impact efforts on international arms control and non-proliferation.

The US plans to deploy a part of missile shield in eastern Europe has irked Russia which perceives it as a threat to its security.

The seven-page statement also called on all countries to end what they called "clique politics" and work closely for a better world. All countries should abandon the 'Cold War mentality' and clique politics, promote equality, democracy and collaboration,' the statement said.

On Iran's nuclear standoff with the West, the two veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council said it should be resolved through dialogue and 'equal consultation' among all parties while calling for the US to refrain from military and "extreme actions" against Tehran.

 'All parties should consider global and regional security, make diplomatic efforts, refrain from military and extreme means, cautiously resort to sanctions and take into account the interests of the country involved,' the statement said, according to state-run Xinhua news agency. The same rules applied to other international issues concerning Iraq, reconstruction in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Kosovo and Darfur in Sudan, the statement said.

Russia and China also condemned 'terrorism in any form' and vowed to strengthen cooperation to combat the menace.Both the countries were committed to strengthening UN's coordination role in combating terrorism and facing up to other new threats and challenges, the statement said.

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Raghavendra in Beijing
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