French minister visits Mongolia to promote nuclear energy cooperation

Visiting French Minister of State for foreign trade Anne-Marie Idrac started a two-day visit to Mongolia to seek bilateral cooperation in nuclear energy Wednesday.

The minister was received by Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, Speaker of the Mongolian parliament Demberel Damdin, and Foreign Minister Zandanshatar Gombojav.

The French delegation includes representatives of the state-run uranium company Areva Group, which has uranium interests in eastern Mongolia.

During the visit, a Mongolian-French business forum is expected to be held to discuss trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

It is also expected that Mongolia and France will sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the uranium sector Thursday.

The French minister said "we will sign an agreement on cooperation in the nuclear energy field. Areva is a world-class uranium company. This intergovernmental agreement will be the basis for Areva's operation in Mongolia."

France was supporting all dialogue between Mongolia and the European Union, she said.

She handed over an official letter from French President Nicolas Sarkozy to his Mongolian counterpart Elbegdorj.

In the letter, Sarkozy said he attached importance to cooperation between the two countries, a Mongolian press release said.

President Elbegdorj said, "We appreciate that France, having rich experience in nuclear energy, is working with Mongolia."

Areva, one of the world's biggest atomic energy groups, has increased its investment and business in Mongolia in recent years. It holds several uranium licenses in eastern Mongolia.

Source: Xinhua
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