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Time to recognise the independence of the Ukraine



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271/91 3 December 1991

TIME TO RECOGNISE THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE UKRAINE

The Federal Opposition believes that the Australian Government should recognise the independence of the Ukraine.

The Ukraine has fulfilled the international criteria for statehood. Action by the international community to recognise the Ukraine can now be an effective way of helping the Ukrainian people to achieve their justifiable aspirations to independence.

Such interntional action can also help to bring about productive negotiations between the central authorities and the Ukrainian Government on implementing the Ukraine's independent status.

The Australian Government lacks direction and leadership on this issue.

As recently as September the Prime Minister said that "events are moving swiftly and if the Ukraine should meet the criteria for statehood, then my Government would be prepared to consider recognising Ukraine's independence".

Yet, on 22 November in Kiev, the Foreign Minister, Senator Evans, said that "Australia is not keen to race into recognition" and that the Australian Government had "no present plans" for formal recognition of any of the Soviet Republics that had declared

independence.

The Australian Government has given no valid reason to delay recognition.

There are important matters for negotiation between central authorities and the Ukrainian Government, as Senator Evans explained in Question Time today. None of them, however, are relevant to the issue of the validity of the Ukrainian

Government's claim to statehood.

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For further information contact: 06/277 4022