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50th anniversary of Molotov/Ribbentrop Agreement: Hill calls for pact's renunciation, restitution and restoration of independence for Baltic states



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MEDIA RELEASE COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MiCAH

T H E S E N A T E

SENATOR ROBERT HILL SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN A F F A .R S

23 August 1989

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MOLOTOV/RIBBENTROP AGREEMENT: HILL CALLS FOR PACT'S RENUNCIATION. RESTITUTION AND RESTORATION OF INDEPENDENCE FOR BALTIC STATES

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the notorious Hitler— Stalin Pact, by Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov and Nazi Germany's Foreign Minister Ribbentrop - an agreement that lead to the formal annexation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union,

the partition of Poland and the subsequent incorporation of central and Eastern Europe into the Soviet bloc.

"The time has come for this grotesque agreement to be declared null and void by the Governments of the Soviet Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic", said Senator Robert Hill, shadow Foreign Minister.

"The pages of history remain indelibly stained so long as this shameful treaty remains legally unrevoked."

"The covertly negotiated protocols overthrew three independent Governments - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - and brazenly squashed fundamental human freedoms of the Baltic peoples."

"For decades the Soviet Union denied the very existence of the secret protocols to the Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact. It was only last week - and for the first time - that a major Soviet newspaper actually published the secret protocols.

"Their existence confirmed, their consequences must now be remedied."

"The determination of Baltic peoples around the world, and not least in Australia, to keep alive the flame of hope for a proper restitution of the historical wrong committed against them, has paid some dividends."

"Significant steps in the liberalization of some political and personal freedoms have been granted over the past year by President Gorbachev. The ongoing fight for political autonomy though is far from resolved."

"It still sticks however that the Whitlam Government in 1974 formally recognized Soviet sovereignty over the Baltic States.

That arbitrary, supine act failed to recognize the force of moral suasion combined with unity of Western resolve.

It was Andrew Peacock, as Foreign Minister, who overturned that decision of de jure recognition.

"A Peacock Government will, of course, continue to withhold de jure recognition of the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union" said Senator Hill.

"The Coalition calls on the Soviet Union, in accordance with the United Nations Resolution on Decolonization, to go much further and allow for genuine acts of self-determination to now occur in the Baltic States" said Senator Hill.