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Opposition criticises Soviet troop build-up in Baltic states



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MEDIA RELEASE

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

THE SENATE

Thursday, January 10 Brisbane 04/91

OPPOSITION CRITICISES SOVIET TROOP BUILD-UP IN BALTIC STATES

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today criticised the Soviet Union for its decision to send more troops to the Baltic States.

Senator Hill also said the Hawke Government should urge the Soviet Union against the use of force in the Baltic States.

"The Soviet Government's build-up of troops in the region is provocative and extremely unhelpful," Senator Hill said.

"The action is clearly designed to intimidate the governments of the three Baltic States.

"The commitment of troops to the Baltic States can now only add to the existing tension in the region and destabilise the current situation.

"The Soviet leader, President Gorbachev, has got to understand the legitimate aspirations of the Baltic people for the

restoration of their independence. These aspirations will not be destroyed by the threat or use of military force.

"Instead of bowing to the military hardliners, President Gorbachev should continue negotiations with the Baltic States to bring about a peaceful resolution of their disputes with the Soviet Union.

"The Coalition regrets the resignation of the Lithuanian Government and hopes that a new government will be formed

quickly.

"The Coalition has always been a firm friend of the Baltic

States, and supports the legitimate aspirations of these States to be responsible for their own futures.

"The Coalition has consistently opposed the Soviet Union's formal annexation of the Baltic States in 1939.

"It is now time that the Australian Government pursued a more active role in urging President Gorbachev to avoid the use of force in the Baltic States.

"The Government should very strongly state to the Soviet Union its concerns about the use of force to depose the governments of the three States."

(ends) Enquiries: Senator Hill's office on (06) 277 3170

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