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Obama sends Vietnam nuclear deal to Congress

Published on May 9, 2014 4:44 AM
US President Barack Obama speaks at a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House in Washington on May 5, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Congress on Thursday began its review of a nuclear agreement with Vietnam, which advocates say would create billions of dollars in trade but has triggered human rights concerns.

President Barack Obama sent to Congress the text of the agreement which would allow the United States to transfer reactors and know-how to Vietnam, which has ambitious plans to build a nuclear network from virtually scratch to meet rising energy demand and reignite economic growth.

The agreement will come in force after Congress is in session for 90 working days - likely meaning late 2014 - unless lawmakers approve a resolution that objects to the deal.

Vietnam's relations have warmed markedly with former war foe Washington since they re-established relations in 1995. But the US Congress is a hotbed of criticism of the communist nation with lawmakers, often from districts with large Vietnamese American communities, concerned about human rights.

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