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Australia – Russia: Uranium Deals and Security …

  • April 25th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

red-square-wikipedia.jpgSales of uranium to Russia, agriculture, education, protecting Antarctica, and even the ban on kangaroo meat were discussed when the Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, visited Moscow this week (21 and 22.4.10).

He went on to Tallinin, in Estonia, for a NATO meeting on Afghanistan.

In Moscow the Minister met his counterpart Sergey Lavrov, agreeing to ratification of the Australia-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, and to use the Agreement to strengthen bilateral cooperation on nuclear policy and safeguards.

russia-4-10-smith_lavrov.jpgEnding of the Cold war was the initial opening for a uranium trade; the Russian Federation was already in compliance with Australian policy that purchasers of the product must be signatories of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (1970).

The meeting this week also welcomed a forthcoming bilateral agreement on cooperation in Antarctica, and Mr Smith signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation. with the Russian Agriculture Minister, Dr Elena Skrynnik.

kangaroos-fredoniaedu1.jpegMentioning the ban on kangaroo meat imports, on grounds of hygiene and other issues, was classified in a statement, as “resolution of current issues in the commercial relationship”. (See also, EUAustralia Online: Roos breed up but Russian ban stays (5.1.10)).

On education, Russia was included in the suite of Endeavour Awards scholarships, to support international study by Australian and overseas research students.


Listed as a talking point  — around the subject of opposing terrorism – was the acceptance of Australia as an Asian Partner in the “Helsinki” formation on security and human rights – the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

On similar lines, Australia is among the “contact group” of Asia-Pacific countries (also including Japan, South Korea and New Zealand) associated with the NATO alliance in Afghanistan. (See also, EUAustralia Online: NATO Final (4.4.08); Commentary – Shoalwater Bay or Brussels (18.1.07)).

Australian forces form part of the NATO command structure in Afghanistan, in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF); for the last two years Australian representatives have attended round tables of the alliance, on Afghanistan – this time Stephen Smith traveling to Tallinn for a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers (24.4.10).

The gathering which included the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, endorsed plans for greater localisation of the reconstruction  and security effort  — placing more authority in the hands of national leaders.


Robert Burns, Tallinn, Associated Press, 24.4.10, Allies aim to start handover of power to Afghans., (24.4.10).

Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Canberra, (media release), “Visit to Russian Federation”, 22.4.10., (24.4.10).


Red Square, Moscow (wikipedia); Foreign Ministers in Moscow (DFAT Canberra).