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AUSTRALIA SAYS NO TO URANIUM SALE FOR INDIA
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09/24/2006 10:13 PM
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AUSTRALIA will not sell uranium to India until it signs the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile has said.
Nuclear-armed India has strongly urged Canberra to change its policy and supply uranium for the country's nuclear reactors.
Australia prohibits the sale of uranium to countries which have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
While Prime Minister John Howard is understood to be open to changing the policy, it is believed Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is opposed.
The United States Senate is expected to decide this week to abandon a similar policy and pursue a new nuclear cooperation deal with India.
Two senior Indian government officials have now urged Australia to follow Washington's lead, but Mr Vaile said today India would have to sign the NPT first.
"Our policy remains the same as it has been," he told ABC radio.
"The way we addressed this issue with China, we maintained we could not do business with China until we had the nuclear non-proliferation treaty signed and in place.
"And that is the policy that we would apply today with India."
M K Narayanan, the national security adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Mr Singh's spokesman Sanjay Baru have told Fairfax newspapers they want Australia to reconsider, but have said refusal would not hurt the relationship between the two countries.
[link to www.news.com.au]
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