Monday, August 27, 2007

Uranium deal will bind India with same conditions of NPT

Melbourne, Aug 17 (PTI) Australian Prime Minister John Howard today said the "strict safeguards" India has to follow to obtain uranium supplies from Canberra will have the same effect of that country signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
"I can assure your listeners that the net effect of our safeguards agreement will be the same," Howard told ABC radio today adding it will prevent India from using the fuel for developing nuclear weapons.

Howard last night reached an in-principle agreement with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, despite India being one of the only four countries not to have signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

"It's a different approach and India has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. But we believe that these arrangements will deliver effectively the same outcome," he said.

Howard said both countries would enter a bilateral safeguards agreement, and India would have to enter a similar agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"And the sort of conditions that are going to be imposed on India are the same as the conditions that are being imposed on countries like China and Russia and I think also France ... And we've been selling uranium to France for many years," he said.

"I spoke to the Indian prime minister last night and I went through all of the conditions, and I'm writing to him over the next few days to confirm that the agreement is subject to all of those conditions being met." Australia is a major producer of uranium, with some of the world's largest known deposits in the southern part of the country.

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