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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 836

(Question No. 1382)

Senator Alston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 23 September 1986:

(1) Does the Government support the 1980 Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front Referendum Proposal which is designed to secure a peaceful resolution of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, now in its 25th year.

(2) Is the Government prepared to take any diplomatic initiatives aimed at achieving a cessation of the military conflict and the establishment of a political structure acceptable to the Eritrean people and the Ethiopian Government; if so, what are they.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Government is aware of the seven-point referendum proposal put forward by `the Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front in November 1980 for an internationally supervised referendum to bring about a peaceful solution to the civil war in the Eritrean region of Ethiopia. The Government is concerned by the human suffering caused by the continuing civil war, and will support any formula for a peaceful solution to the unrest acceptable to parties to the conflict.

(2) The Government's major concern is to remain responsive to the humanitarian needs of all Ethiopians. In matters relating to possible political solutions to the civil war, we are influenced by the position and deliberations of the Organisations of African Unity and the United Nations. We will continue to monitor closely debate in these international bodies and will lend our support where appropriate to initiatives designed to bring peaceful resolution to the conflict.