Australia threatens to stop uranium sales to Russia

Australia threatened Monday to withhold uranium for Russian nuclear reactors unless Moscow respects Georgia's sovereignty and withdraws its forces from the country. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has joined world leaders in calling on Russia to observe a cease-fire agreement that requires it to remove its military from the former Soviet state. Smith warned Monday that a new agreement that would allow Australian uranium to be exported to fuel Russian power plants was at stake in the standoff. "When the government comes to consider ratification of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with the Russian Federation, we will take into account not just the merits of the agreement, but events which have occurred in Georgia and ongoing events in Georgia and the state of Australia's bilateral relationship with the Russian Federation," Smith told Parliament. The agreement was signed last September and a routine examination by a parliamentary Treaties Committee began Monday. Smith has not said when the government might make a decision on whether to ratify the pact.