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Hawke's failure to relax South African sanctions unhelpful: Hill



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MEDIA RELEASE

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

T H E S E N A T E

Monday, February 18 Canberra 13/91

HAWKE'S FATT.TIRE TO RELAX SOTITH AFRICAN SANCTIONS ΠΝΗΚΤ.ΡΕΤΤΤ.; FTTT.T.

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said the Hawke Government was failing to offer President de Klerk the encouragement and support he deserved in the process of dismantling apartheid in South Africa.

"The Hawke Government was a party to the communique of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers' meeting in London at the weekend - attended by the Foreign Minister, Senator Evans - which failed to relax sanctions in any way," Senator Hill said.

"The communique says all existing sanctions should be maintained until four major conditions - relating to political prisoners, exiles, security legislation, and key apartheid laws - have been fully met.

"Despite the Prime Minister, Mr Hawke, congratulating President de Klerk for this month's announcement on apartheid laws, the communique still commits the Australian Government to a hard line on sanctions.

"It has not rewarded President de Klerk for moves to dismantle apartheid which even Mr Hawke considers brave.

"The statement provides President de Klerk with nothing to convince the right wing in South Africa that the dismantling of apartheid will bring any real benefits to the country.

"The communique does not live up to the expectations created in Australia in recent times by Senator Evans and Mr Hawke.

"Both have been indicating since December that they want early action on the lifting of sanctions on South Africa.

"Senator Evans told the Senate on December 21 that it was possible to contemplate 'early movement' on academic and cultural sanctions.

"But the communique issued after the London meeting does not even mention these two areas, let alone indicate any movement.

"Mr Hawke stated early this month that Australia would use the meeting to persuade the Commonwealth to remove sanctions at the same time as the de Klerk Government dismantled the pillars of apartheid.

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"But the meeting has not foreshadowed any immediate action.

"Instead, it decided that the Ministers would not meet until late May, and even then will only consider an 'appropriate response'.

"There is no guarantee in the communique that there will be definite action to lift sanctions after May.

"Senator Evans said Australia's position at the meeting was to 'get a sense of realism into the sanctions process and not get ourselves locked into a position where we weren't prepared to contemplate movement on anything until everything had been

achieved'.

"If this was the test for Australia's performance at the meeting, he has clearly failed because the meeting was not prepared to move on any sanctions until all of its conditions were met.

"Mr Hawke has since the start of the month indicated that sporting sanctions should be among the first to be lifted.

"But despite Senator Evans's and Mr Hawke's claims that the meeting foreshadowed the imminent lifting of some sporting sanctions, the meeting decided that the issue of sporting sanctions will not be considered until the Harare Heads of Government meeting in November."

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