Putin says Russia, US partners and allies against nuclear proliferation
MOSCOW (AFP) Sep 21, 2003
Russian president Vladimir Putin said Sunday his country and US are allies in the fight to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

"The problem of non-proliferation is one of the spheres" in which the two countries "are not only partners but even strategic partners and allies," Russian news agencies quoted him as telling vising US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

"And as President George W. Bush has said, never again shall we be enemies."

Abraham reported the two countries had reached good results in the field of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

There have been pressures from Washington on Moscow over Russia's cooperation in the civil nuclear field with Iran, suspected by the US of seeking to build a nuclear bomb.

Russia is building the Islamic state's first nuclear power reactor, but says it will not begin delivering nuclear fuel needed to operate the plant until Tehran signs a deal pledging to return the spent material to Russia.

Under the urging of the United States and Israel Russia has made the return of the spent fuel a key condition for concluding the 800 million dollarmillion euro) project.