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Stress on Australian/U.S. relations due to nuclear free zone



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MEDIA RELEASE BY THE OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN ON DEFENCE, IAN SINCLAIR

Opposition Defence spokesman Ian Sinclair said in Alice Springs today that the 1 mickey mouse1 nuclear free zone agreed to by the Prime Minister would put further stress on Australia/U.S. relations.

Mr Sinclair made the statement after a full briefing session at the Pine Gap joint facility, near Alice Springs.

He said Australia desperately needed to mend relations with the United States which plummeted after the MX missile debacle.

"By agreeing to make the Pacific a meaningless nuclear free zone this Government has played right into the hands of the Soviet Union," Mr Sinclair said.

"At a time when Russia is building up its Pacific and Indian Ocean fleets and extending its facilities at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam we should be remembering who our friends are on the international stage.

"They certainly do not include Russia."

Mr Sinclair said that the upgraded Pine Gap facility was an essential 'part of Australia's and the western world's defences.

"For the future well-being of Australia's people it is absolutely essential that this Government does an 'about turn' and starts to act in a friendly and co-operative way with the United States.

"Labor has done about-turns on just about every other policy area - there is no reason why it cannot do so in the vital area of defence," Mr Sinclair said.

ALICE SPRINGS

9TH AUGUST 1985