West's relations with Russia at turning point: Australian PM

AFP
Thursday, Sept 18, 2008

The west's relations with Russia are at a turning point after its intervention in Georgia and a pact to sell Australian uranium to Moscow is in the balance, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Thursday.

Parliament's treaties committee earlier recommended that the deal signed with former president Vladimir Putin last year be put on hold because of concerns about Russia's nuclear weapons programme.

The committee said the government should first satisfy itself that the billion-dollars-a-year (800,000 US dollars) worth of the nuclear fuel would be used solely for civilian nuclear power.

And it should give more consideration to recent events such as the conflict in Georgia, the committee's report said.

Rudd told a news conference that the uranium question would be considered carefully in the light of the shifting political landscape but refused to rule out sales.

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