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Coalition support for Baltic freedom



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John Hewson Leader of the Opposition M e d i a R e l e a s e

32/91 11 February 1991

COALITION SUPPORT FOR BALTIC FREEDOM

The Shadow Ministry today commended the courage of the Lithuanian people in overwhelmingly reaffirming their longstanding demand for freedom despite objection and hindrance from the Government of the Soviet Union.

The Coalition reaffirmed its support for the right of the peoples of the Baltic states to regain the independence stolen from them fifty years ago.

The Coalition accepts the Lithuanian referendum vote as expressing a clear wish of the Lithuanian people. We call upon the Soviet Government to honour the results of this referendum and the forthcoming votes in the other Baltic

states, Estonia and Latvia.

The Coalition believes that the Soviet authorities must be left in no doubt that Western support and aid for the Soviet Union can continue only if minimum standards of human rights, including the right of peaceful self-determination, are observed. The Soviet Government should accept the referendum as a legitimate expression of the will of the people of Lithuania.

The Australian Government should also accept the referendum as an expression of the aspirations of the Lithuanian people for independence. It should take a lead in strongly pressing the Soviet Union, both in its own right and in conjunction with other governments, as well, as in the United Nations and other appropriate international forums, to end its illegal occupation of the Baltic states and restore their legitimate

independence and sovereignty.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION (06) 277 4022

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