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Howard to sign uranium supply deal with Russia at APEC, as survey shows 66pc of Australians wary on safeguards

Posted by gmarkets on 10 September, 2007

Russia would agree not to on-sell Australian uranium to nuclear proliferators as a condition of a civil supply agreement to be signed with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the APEC summit, Foreign Minister Alexandler Downer indicated, reported The Australian Financial Review (5/9/2007, p.11). Downer confident on safety: Prime Minister John Howard and Putin were expected to sign the supply agreement after they met on Friday morning as part of the first-ever official visit to Australia by a Russian President – ahead of APEC leaders’ talks on climate change and trade. But Downer said any agreement would be subject to Russia signing a safeguards agreement with Australia and Australia would only supply uranium to Russia for use in its own domestic civilian nuclear program. “My view is you can put in place a good safeguards agreement with Russia. Russia would have absolutely no interest in breaching a safeguards agreement and creating a massive diplomatic confrontation, not just with Australia but with most of the Western world over some­thing like that,” he said.

Public opposition to deal: Downer’s comments came as a Research International survey showed 66 per cent of Australians were opposed to selling uranium to Russia even though it is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Russia also reprocessed Aus­tralian uranium supplied to other NPT signatory countries.

The Australian Financial Review, 5/9/2007, p. 11

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