Russia says Australia moving to ratify uranium fuel deal

Publish date: November 25, 2008

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavorv says Australia has offered an assurance that it will do everything possible to ratify a nuclear cooperation agreement with his country, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

There have been doubts about whether the controversial deal would go through, due in large part to international outrage at Moscow for its military engagement with the heavily western-backed former Soviet republic of Georgia in August.

In September 2007, the Australian Government signed an agreement with Moscow to supply uranium to Russia to be enriched for non-military use.

A year on, a federal parliamentary committee recommended that the Government delay ratifying the treaty as it was concerned about Russia’s nuclear weapons programme, and contributions Russia’s civilian nuclear industry has made to Iran’s nuclear reactor development.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would consider the recommendation, ABC reported.

Now, Russian foreign minister Lavrov is quoted by the state owned RIA Novosti news agency as saying that Australia has assured that measures would be taken to ratify the agreement.

Lavrov spoke of the assurance after a meeting between Rudd and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru, said RIA Novosti.

The Rudd government has not yet comment on the progress of the deal.