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Cessation of arrangements for visitors from southern Lebanon

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

MPS 24/96


Special arrangements for visitors from southern Lebanon which were put in place last month are to cease, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today.

The arrangements were announced on 23 April, in response to concerns that visitors from the affected region of southern Lebanon might face danger if they were to return to their homes. The arrangements allowed for people lawfully in Australia to apply for an extension of stay while they had concerns about safely returning to Lebanon.

These measures were intended to be short term, and subject to ongoing review as the situation in southern Lebanon changed in response to peace efforts.

The cease-fire which took effect on 27 April appears to have brought stability to the affected region, and there is no longer any reason to retain these special arrangements.

"I understand that since the cease-fire became operational there has not been danger in the southern Lebanon region and displaced persons started returning home as soon as the cease-fire took effect.

"I was very pleased to be able to put these measures into place to assist visitors from southern Lebanon," Mr Ruddock said. "My department will continue to monitor situations of conflict to enable us to respond quickly to emerging areas of need."

CANBERRA 18 June 1996