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Government should be condemned for inaction on Yugoslavia: Hill



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Thursday, September 5 Canberra

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GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE CONDEMNED FOR INACTION ON YUGOSLAVIA: HILL

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said the Australian Government should be condemned for its continuing inaction on the deepening crisis in Yugoslavia following an admission that it had done nothing to pursue the proposal for UN involvement floated by Mr Hawke last week.

"The Foreign Minister, Senator Evans, today admitted that the Government had done nothing to pursue the proposal for a joint Australian/United States effort to seek UN involvement to end the fighting in Yugoslavia," Senator Hill said.

"The proposal was floated by Mr Hawke last week on midday television following Opposition calls for Australian UN action.

"Mr Hawke gained a few headlines from the proposal, but there has obviously been no attempt to actively pursue the plan.

"It seems the Government was not genuine about the plan, and that it had more to do with Mr Hawke's need to defend his leadership.

"The Hawke Government's response to the Yugoslav crisis has been characterised by indifference and inaction, and Senator Evans's admission today shows the trend is continuing.

"The Government should be condemned for its inaction on the crisis in Yugoslavia.

"Reports from Yugoslavia show that the Yugoslav armed forces are flagrantly violating the ceasefire agreed to by their own Yugoslav federal government.

"The European Community's (EC) proposal for a ceasefire and peace conference is breaking down.

"Senator Evans said Mr Hawke's UN plan was difficult to implement and that Australia and the US wanted to give the EC more time.

"But the Australian Government should be looking at ways of overcoming the difficulties associated with the UN plan so that another viable option is available if the EC plan fails.

"If Australia and the world do not act now, it may be too late to avoid a full-scale conflict in Yugoslavia."

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Enquiries: Senator Hill or Mark Batistich on (06) 277 3170

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