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Hill to visit new states of Croatia and Slovenia



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Thursday, January 16

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HIM. TO VISIT MEW STATES OP CROATIA AND SLOVENIA

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today welcomed Australia's recognition of Croatia and Slovenia and announced he would visit the two new states early next month.

"The Federal Opposition welcomes the Australian Government's decision to grant diplomatic recognition to the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia," Senator Hill said.

"The Opposition yesterday urged the Government to support the decision the European Community was to make overnight on the recognition of former Yugoslav republics by itself granting diplomatic recognition.

"To underline the Opposition's support for Croatia and Slovenia, I plan to visit the new states early next month.

"I will use my visit to Zagreb and Ljubljana to explore ways in which Australia can develop its relationship with the new states and contribute to the peace process.

"The EC's and Australia's recognition of Croatia and Slovenia is an encouraging development in the peace process, but the task ahead is still enormous.

"Apart from the maintenance of the current ceasefire and the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces, Australia and the international community will need to focus on important humanitarian issues arising out of a conflict which has reportedly killed at least 6000.

"For example, the number of people displaced by the conflict is estimated to be more than 600,000 - two thirds of whom are women and children - and the figure is increasing.

"Urgent provisions need to be made available to these refugees, and a major program of return and resettlement must be put in place.

"Australia can help this process by contributing to a special fund established by the United Nations to provide humanitarian assistance."

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