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    Russia, Egypt to sign nuclear energy deal next week - minister

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    Russia and Egypt will sign an agreement on cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy sector next week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said.

    CAIRO, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Egypt will sign an agreement on cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy sector next week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said.

    The document will be signed during a forthcoming visit by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Moscow on March 24-25, Gheit said.

    "This agreement will enable Egypt to use Russia's extensive experience in the peaceful use of nuclear energy," Gheit said.

    A source in Egypt's electricity and energy ministry earlier said the document will lay the foundation for nuclear energy cooperation between Egypt and Russia and will strengthen relations between Russian companies and Egypt.

    However, the agreement will not automatically mean that Russian companies will build nuclear power plants in Egypt.

    "Companies will be selected at an international tender to be announced by the Egyptian government at the end of the year," the source said.

    At the same time, Nabil Rashwan, an expert on Russia, said that the agreement would allow Russia to build nuclear power plants in Egypt, train Egyptian personnel and supply nuclear fuel, adding that cooperation with Russia was more advantageous than with the U.S. that imposed tough restrictions, including regular inspections and control.

    According to Rashwan, the U.S. is pressurizing Egypt to place its nuclear program under U.S. control to protect the security of Israel.

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