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Australian PM should block US-India nuclear deal

Deputy sheriff Howard needs to stand up to sheriff Bush

PM should block US-India nuclear deal

The Australian Greens today welcomed the Howard government's commitment not to sell uranium to India while it remains outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but called on the Prime Minister to use Australia's position to block the US-India nuclear deal.

"The proposed US sale of nuclear technology and fuel to India undermines the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and increases global insecurity," Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said in Canberra.

"Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's statement that Australia will not sell uranium to India while India remains outside the NPT is welcome.

"Australia has the opportunity to apply this standard to the US-India deal through its role in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which must vet the deal.

"I am calling on Prime Minister John Howard to use Australia's position in the Nuclear Suppliers Group to demonstrate that he's not just US President George Bush's deputy sheriff but is capable of having an independent foreign policy.

"Nuclear power is no solution to climate change. It is expensive, slow and poses unacceptable safety risks to people and the environment.

"The NPT is not perfect but it is an important international agreement. By accepting that India will continue with its nuclear military activities while selling it nuclear technology and fuel for civilian use, the US is undermining the NPT and Australia must do all it can to prevent this."

The Nuclear Suppliers Group was established in 1974 after the nuclear explosion in India. Its main purpose is to ensure that nuclear cooperation does not contribute to nuclear proliferation.

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