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Australia-India Uranium sale deal to be covered by bilateral safeguards agreement: would ensure any Australian uranium sold to India would be used for exclusively peaceful purposes, says Fed Government

Posted by gmarkets on 3 October, 2007

Senator Helen Coonan, Senator for NSW, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in reply to the questions asked by Lyn Allison, Senator for Victoria, Leader of the Australian Democrats, Commonwealth Senate, upon notice on 8 August 2007, regarding the potential Australia-India uranium sale deal that would see the export of uranium from Australia to India in contravention to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty obligations, said the supply of uranium to India did not contravene Australia’s international legal obligations under the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provided the uranium was covered by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and conclusion of a bilateral safeguards agreement with India was conditional on a number of other steps, including India concluding a suitable safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all designated civil nuclear facilities.

Uranium use covered by IAEA safeguards: Coonan said if Australia did conclude a safeguards agreement with India, the provisions within the agreement would follow Australia’s long-standing policy requirements for bilateral safeguards agreements, as outlined in the Annual Reports of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, including that Australian uranium be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, and be covered by IAEA safeguards.

Safeguard agreement yet to be worked out: “The precise nature of safeguards provisions in any Australia-India nuclear safeguards agreement would depend on the exact nature of India’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA, which is yet to be concluded.

NPT does not prohibit transfer: “The NPT, and the principles and objectives decided on in 1995, did not prohibit the transfer of nuclear material and equipment to India provided appropriate safeguards were in place. Under the US-India civil nuclear initiative, India had committed to enter into expanded safeguards arrangements with the IAEA for the purpose.

Indo-US nuclear deal, the motivating factor: Coonan said the US-India nuclear deal was an initiative regarding civil nuclear energy cooperation. The initiative addressed the separation of India’s civil nuclear energy sector from its military sector and the placing of the civil sector under IAEA safeguards in perpetuity.

Aust-Indo bilateral agreement to ensure peaceful use: “Australia’s decision to allow the export of uranium to India, subject to conditions being met, did not violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172. The application of IAEA safeguards to India’s peaceful nuclear facilities and a bilateral safeguards agreement between Australia and India would ensure that Australian nuclear material supplied to India would be used for exclusively peaceful purposes.

India committed to moratorium on nuclear testing: “Under the US-India initiative, India had committed to work on conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and to continue its unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.

Australia to press India to sign CTBT: “While Australia welcomed India’s testing moratorium, the Government would continue to encourage India—and all states whose ratification is required for entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)—to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay” Coonan added.

Reference: Lyn Allison, Senator for Victoria, Leader of the Australian Democrats, Australian Democrats; Helen Coonan, Senator for New South Wales, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts & Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Liberal Party of Australia, Commonwealth Senate, 18 September 2007

Erisk Net, 27/9/2007

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