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Sarkozy to sign arms deal to help Brazil build nuclear sub

Sunday, December 21st 2008 - 20:00 UTC
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President Nicolas Sarkozy President Nicolas Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to sign an arms deal during his visit to Brazil that could help this country build Latin America's first nuclear-propelled submarine, according to the government's official news agency Agencia Brazil.

Sarkozy and a delegation of ministers are scheduled to arrive in Rio de Janeiro on Monday for a Brazil-European Union summit. He is currently president of the European Union's council and in January must hand over the post to the Czech Republic. Agencia Brasil said Sarkozy and Brazil's Lula da Silva would sign an agreement after the summit that includes the transfer of French technology for Brazil to build four conventional submarines, as well as the hull for "Brazil's first nuclear submarine". Brazil currently has five conventionally powered submarines. France promised earlier this year to help Brazil build the Scorpene attack submarine, a conventional diesel-powered vessel that Brazilian officials hope will help them develop Latin America's first nuclear-propelled submarine. They said it would protect Brazil's large offshore oil reserves and exploration platforms. In South America Chile already has two Scorpone submersibles. Brazil in 1979 began a formal program to develop a nuclear submarine and the administration of Lula da Silva last year announced 540 million USD in new funding for the program and for uranium enrichment efforts. Agencia Brasil said that another likely agreement calls for the construction of 50 EC 725 Cougar helicopters by Brazil's Helibras, which is controlled by Eurocopter, a branch of the French-German defence group EADS. Brazil's Foreign Ministry said the two presidents will also sign agreements on sustainable development and protection of the Amazon rain forest and in education, science and nuclear energy. The international financial crisis and climate change is expected to dominate the talks as the summit which begins Monday at Rio de Janeiro's famed Copacabana Palace Hotel European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso told the private Agencia Estado news agency that the leaders also should discuss ways to revive the Doha Round of world trade talks that collapsed in July after countries such as India and Brazil rebuffed an offer by the U.S. and Europe to gradually reduce farm subsidies in exchange for lower tariffs on food imports by developing countries. Barroso is also expected to give his support for Brazil's push for larger emerging economies to have a greater say in building the world's future financial architecture, according to a commission spokesman. Another issue in the EU-Brazil agenda is bio-fuel of which Brazil is the world's second producer, behind the US, particularly in light of Europe's drive to increase the proportion of its vehicles powered by ethanol. On a more political level Brazil's goal of joining the UN Security Council as a permanent member is expected to be addressed. Brazil counts with the support from Britain, France and Germany, but also has to contend with opposition from Italy and Spain.

Categories: Politics, Mercosur.

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