Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Australia's Howard continues his push to bypass the Non-Proliferation Treaty

A fierce battle is brewing between the conservative Bush ally John Howard and opposition leaders over his plan to start selling uranium to India, despite longstanding policies against trading with nations that refuse to sign the NPT.

PRIME Minister John Howard has publicly endorsed India's push to join the world's nuclear club and signalled Australian uranium could be sold to the subcontinent if New Delhi accepts strict safeguards.

Mr Howard said yesterday his Government was likely to back a proposed nuclear co-operation deal between Washington and New Delhi.

Mr Howard also opened the door to future Australian uranium sales to India — a move requiring a fundamental shift in Government policy.

Australian policy does not allow uranium sales to countries such as India, which is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). While Mr Howard emphasised that a formal decision to scrap the policy had not been taken, he said he "wouldn't rule out a change" and spoke highly of Australia's relationship with India.
This is in direct contrast to Australia's recently stated position, and has been seized by Howard's opponents:

"A decision to back India in the suppliers group will undermine the Non Proliferation Treaty. It means the international safeguards regime will no longer be enforced, and Australia will have contributed to that process,"
Howard has most recently been in American news for his terrorists love Obama comment, as well as allegations that he arranged a deal to silence Guantanamo detainee David Hicks until after the Australian federal election.

No comments: