France, Algeria sign nuclear cooperation deal

France and Algeria signed a nuclear cooperation accord Tuesday during a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that netted lucrative deals but failed to dispel the rancor between the two countries. The framework nuclear cooperation accord - that must be approved by the European Community of Atomic Energy - would allow for transfer of technology and the eventual construction of a nuclear reactor for civilian use in this North African nation. It is the first such accord between France and an Arab Muslim country and it is far bolder than a June protocol the United States signed with Algeria. The protocol was mainly limited to an exchange of experts and the development of common research programs. More than $7.3 billion in contracts were signed during the three-day state visit that ends Wednesday, including construction by Total of a petrochemical complex in Arzew, in the west, and transport contracts.