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Wednesday, 3 December 1986
Page: 3249

Senator ROBERT RAY —Has the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs seen reports that a court in West Berlin has implicated a Syrian official in providing explosives to two persons convicted of a terrorist bombing in that city? Is the Minister able to comment on the consequences of this development and on the measures the Government can take to counter the threat of state-sponsored terrorism, or indeed any form of terrorism?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am aware of reports that two Jordanians having close links to Syria have been convicted in the Federal Republic of Germany of carrying out a bomb attack on the German-Arab Association in West Berlin on 29 November. One of the persons, Ahmed Hasi, is the brother of Nezar Hendawi, who was recently sentenced to 45 years imprisonment for the attempted bombing of an El Al airliner in London.

Evidence given at the trial clearly indicates Syrian Government involvement in the attack. As a consequence of the trial, four Syrian diplomats have been expelled and the Bonn Government has not determined the date to replace its Ambassador to Syria, who has already left Damascus on the completion of his assignment. Certain Syrians resident in East Berlin will no longer be granted entry to West Berlin following action taken by United States, French and British officials in their sectors of the city.

The Australian Government consistently and unequivocally condemns all forms of terrorism and has welcomed and encouraged the growing resolve on the part of countries threatened by the terrorist menace to work together against it. The relevant government agencies and departments already have substantial counter-terrorist links with a number of countries. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Hayden, advised Parliament in May that Australia had initiated a new round of discussions to improve co-operation in the counter-terrorism field. The initial results of these exchanges are currently being considered by other government departments and agencies which share responsibility for counter-terrorist activities.