Australia blocks cargo to Pakistan on WMD concerns

Reuters April 06, 2010

SYDNEY: Australia has blocked a commercial shipment of scientific equipment to Pakistan over concerns it could be destined for a weapons of mass destruction programme, Defence Minister John Faulkner said.

In evoking Australia's Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, Faulkner said there were "unacceptable risks" of the shipment ending up in the wrong hands.

An Australian company had attempted to export two "atomic absorption spectrophotometers" to Pakistan worth $125,000 ($115,000), according to local media reports.

The machines are used to measure the content of metals in various substances.

A statement issued by Faulkner's office said there was no suggestion of wrongdoing by the Australian company.

"The WMD Act gives me as Minister the power to issue such a notice when I am satisfied that if particular goods were supplied or exported to a particular place they would or might be used in a WMD program," Faulkner said in the statement.


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