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Evan's Cambodia stance confused, needs clarification: Hill



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MEDIA RELEASE

SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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JfliT THE SENATE

Monday, February 25 Adelaide 14/91

KVAHS'S CAMBUP1A HTAHL'K UUHITUSKU. NKKljS CliAKiriCATlOwa HIM.

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affaire, Senator Robert Hill, today said the Hawke Government's position on Cambodia was confused and contradictory and needed urgent clarification.

Senator Hill said that on December 6, Senator Evans stated thats

If it becomes clear that, despite the best efforts of all concerned, a comprehensive settlement is unachievable, Australia, along with other Western and regional countries, will need to review other policy options.

"This was interpreted as a clear signal that Australia was looking at other options," Senator Hill said.

"However, on February 13, the Minister stated that the

'unilateral holding of elections will not resolve the conflict' and that 'the only thing that can do that is a comprehensive settlement'.

"Last Friday, the Government's chief negotiator on Cambodia, Mr Michael Costello, reportedly told the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee that he was not optimistic about the Australian peace plan and that its chances of success were still

less than 50 per cent.

"But in a speech just last night. Senator Evans said that a

comprehensive settlement was still in sight, that the obstacles to settlement were few and manageable, and that the Paris

Conference should be reconvened.

"And it's not only the Government's rhetoric which is confusing.

"The Government does not recognise the Hun Sen regime in Phnom Penh and Senator Evans has dismissed out of hand the possibility that the regime could hold its own elections.

"Yet, i understand that a team of Government aid officials is currently undertaking a review of past Australian NGO (nonĀ­ government organisation) and multilateral aid to Cambodia with a view to laying the groundwork for a future bilateral aid

program with the Phnom Penh Government.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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"The Government' 8 position on Cambodia is confused and

contradictory and in need of urgent clarification.

"This growing picture of confusion and contradiction will not enhance Australia's diplomatic reputation in the region or contribute to resolving one of the region's most difficult problems."

(ends)

Enquiries; senator Hill or Mark Batistlch on (08) 237 7920

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