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Australia blocks Pak cargo on WMD concerns

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* GBC wanted to sell two atomic absorption spectrophotometers to Pak company

SYDNEY: Australia has blocked a shipment of scientific equipment to Pakistan over fears it could be used to help build weapons of mass destruction (WMD), a spokesman for Defence Minister John Faulkner said on Tuesday.

The government used the 1995 Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act to stop an Australian company exporting instruments and accessories to a Pakistani firm, he said. “The minister forms the view, based on advice from the Department of Defense supported by other agencies, that there are unacceptable risks associated with the provision of these goods,” the spokesman told AFP.

It is the fourth time the minister has used the little-known act to block a shipment going overseas. On previous occasions, the goods had been destined for Iran or countries deemed at risk of passing them on to Iran. The government refused to name either the Australian or Pakistani companies involved in the transaction, but Australian newspapers said the domestic firm was GBC Scientific Equipment. It said GBC wanted to sell two atomic absorption spectrophotometers worth $115,000, which analyses liquid samples, to a Pakistani engineering firm but had been unable to convince the government at Canberra that they could not be used to analyse metals used for centrifuges and missiles.

“They’re destroying my company and, more to the point, they’ve basically moved my thoughts to forget about Australia,” the company’s managing director Ron Grey told the paper.

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Written by rohitkumarsviews

April 7, 2010 at 6:18 am

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