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US Withdraws From Nuclear Deal with Russia

The United States has pulled out of an agreement with Russia for civilian nuclear cooperation. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details from Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement that President Bush is notifying Congress he is rescinding a request for consideration of the nuclear cooperation deal with Moscow.

The nuclear agreement, which would have required U.S. congressional approval, was signed earlier this year in Moscow and was designed to allow U.S. and Russian companies to become partners in joint ventures involving the nuclear industry. Analysts say business generated by the agreement could have been worth billions of dollars.

In the statement read by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, Rice says U.S. nonproliferation goals contained in the agreement remain valid, but the timing is not appropriate for such an accord.

"We make this decision with regret," said Sean McCormack. "Unfortunately, given the current environment the time is not right for this agreement. We will reevaluate the situation at a later date as we follow developments closely."

In a separate statement issued by the White House, President Bush linked the decision to Russia's military action in Georgia.

McCormack says Russia's conflict with Georgia is causing Washington to reevaluate its relations with Moscow.

"So of course it stands to reason you take a look at the relationship and we have said it is not business as usual," he said. "It can not be business as usual."

McCormack says U.S. embassy officials in Moscow have notified the Russian government of the decision.