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UPDATE 1-Russia says eyes atomic energy cooperation with Syria

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DAMASCUS, May 11 (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that he hoped cooperation with Syria in the oil, gas and atomic energy sectors will be increased.

“Cooperation on atomic energy (with Syria) could get a second wind,” Medvedev said at a press conference with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Medvedev gave no further details on what nuclear cooperation had been discussed.

Russian news agencies quoted Assad as saying that he had discussed with Medvedev the possibility of building power plants, including nuclear ones, in Syria.

Russia says all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear power programmes and is due this year to start up an atomic power station a Russian state company has built in Iran.

When speaking about Iran’s nuclear programme, Medvedev called for “constructive cooperation” with the international community on Iran’s part.

The United States and some European countries believe Iran’s nuclear programme is a front for an effort to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

Reporting by Denis Dyomkin, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Steve Gutterman