US watching 'closely' Venezuela-Russia nuclear deal
The United States said Friday it was keeping a close eye on a deal under which Russia will build and operate Venezuela's first nuclear power station.
"This is something that we will watch... very, very closely," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
"It is certainly a right of any country to pursue civilian nuclear energy, but with that right comes responsibilities," Crowley added.
"And we would expect Venezuela, Russia or any other country... pursuing this kind of technology to meet all international obligations," he said.
The nuclear agreement, signed during a visit to Russia by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is built on a plan agreed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with Chavez during a visit to Caracas in April.
Further details were not given about the timing or cost of the construction of the station, but Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said diversifying energy sources was a priority even for a energy-rich country like Venezuela.
"Any new nuclear program or activity should be conducted in accordance with the highest standard of nonproliferation .... safety and security, including IAEA safeguards," Crowley added.
The IAEA is the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog known as the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In an apparent reference to the United States, Medvedev acknowledged earlier that the move to build the facility could concern some countries.
© 2010 AFP