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Russia proposes Slovakia join intl. uranium enrichment center

BRATISLAVA, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has proposed Slovakia join the international uranium enrichment center in Angarsk, East Siberia, the Russian prime minister said after talks with his Slovak counterpart in Bratislava Thursday.

The center, part of Moscow's non-proliferation initiative to create a network of enrichment centers under the UN nuclear watchdog supervision, will be based at a chemical plant in Angarsk, Siberia. The center will also be responsible for the disposal of nuclear waste.

"We propose our Slovakian partners join the international uranium enrichment center that is being built by Russia," Viktor Zubkov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin first raised the idea of joint nuclear enrichment centers early last year, in a bid to defuse tension over Iran's controversial nuclear program. The president said the centers would give countries transparent access to civilian nuclear technology without provoking international fears that enriched uranium could be used for covert weapons programs.

The Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said, in turn, that the two countries had also discussed re-exporting spent nuclear fuel to Russia.

During the meeting of the two prime ministers in the Slovakian capital an agreement was also reached to draft new treaties on oil and gas supplies before the current ones expire in 2015 and 2008, respectively.

"Both sides reaffirmed their political readiness to continue long-term oil and gas supplies to the Slovak Republic," Fico said.

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