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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Australia refuses to budge on uranium exports to India

RIA Novosti

23/06/2008 16:40 NEW DELHI, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - Australia will not lift its ban on uranium exports to India until New Delhi signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Indian media reported Monday.

"We've had as a party (Labor) a long standing policy position of only exporting uranium to countries who are party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. India for its own reasons is not a party to that," Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said after meeting his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee in Canberra.

He said, however, that Australia would consider uranium sales to India if New Delhi was able to agree a landmark nuclear pact and satisfy international concerns about nuclear safeguards.

"If and when the 123 Agreement gets to either the International Atomic Energy Agency or the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia will then give consideration to what its attitude to that agreement is," Smith said.

Mukherjee said he was currently negotiating the proposed peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States.

"Naturally if the entire process is completed, the nuclear trade with India is permissible as per the international arrangements, then and then only, the question will come," he said. "I have come to Australia not with one issue of getting uranium from Australia because we are aware of the position of the Labor Party."

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