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Backflip on uranium sale to India?

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Foreign Affairs

Senator Lyn Allison Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Victoria

Dated: 06 March 2006

Press Release Number: sdcuomla Portfolio: Foreign Affairs

Backflip on uranium sale to India?

The Australian Democrats have cautioned the Prime Minister against selling uranium to India unless it signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"In what looks a policy backflip in less than a week, the PM now appears to be considering the export of uranium to India despite the fact that it has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," Democrats' Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.

"The Prime Minister's comments that he will be happy to talk about the issue as long as the rules are followed and the safeguards are met represent a dangerous policy shift. Until now, the Government's policy has been to only export uranium to countries which have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

"The Government must be consistent in its commitment to achieving a nuclear-free world. It must continue to press for the global dismantling of nuclear weapons and an effective way to stop the development of more weapons is to maintain tough restrictions on uranium trade, Democrats Leader Senator Lyn Allison said.

"Unlike the Government, the Democrats are firm in our opposition to uranium trade with any country that has not ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and does not have an active policy of nuclear disarmament," Senator Allison said.

In August last year, the Democrats moved a notice of motion calling on the Government to both expand and enforce restrictions on the end use of Australian uranium and to withdraw uranium export agreements with nuclear weapons states that do not commit to a timeframe for total nuclear disarmament.

"India must not be exempt from international efforts to prevent nuclear armament. It will send a dangerous message to other countries whose intentions are unclear," Senator Stott Despoja said.

"As Minister Downer stated uranium trade with India 'would open up questions of whether we'd export uranium to countries like Israel and Pakistan'. This clearly reinforces the case for maintaining previous policy," Senator Stott Despoja concluded.