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Cyprus



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D A T E 21 July I9'7zi -

CYPRUS

. Commenting on the grave situation in Cyprus the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Don Willesee, said that the Australian Government would support all peaceful efforts directed towards the maintenance of the sovereignty

independence and territorial integrity of Cyp2?us„ The legally constituted government of the country had been overthrown by force and the primary responsibility for this situation must rest with the Greek officers of the Cyprus National Guard. The Greek Government's failure to respond immediately to President Makarios' request for their removal- meant that the Greek Government must bear

a heavy responsibility for the bloodshed that followed. Nor had the Greek Government subsequently repudiated the action taken by their military officers in Greece.

To this already serious situation, had now been added the·grave new dimension represented by the Turkish Government's decision unilaterally to intervene militarily in Cyprus. This decision had been taken while the U.N. Security Council 'was actively seized of the matter and while NATO Governments Were endeavouring to transfer the dispute from the battlefield to the negotiating table. It was to be earnestly hoped that the Turkish and Greek

Governments would respond jjositively to the British Government's invitation to conduct urgent talks in London with a view to seeking a peaceful settlement of the dispute.

. Meanwhile, Senator Willesee reiterated the sta.tem.ent he made in Parliament last Thursday that the most immediate objective was to bring about a cease fire in Cyprus. . . . ,

Consequently the Minister welcomed the unanimous decision of the Security Council, which Australia supported in the Council, to call upon all parties to the present fighting to cease all firing. The first task must be to

stop the bloodshed which was needlessly endangering the lives not only of the Cypriot-people but also of the many foreign tourists at present on the island.

The Australian Government did not at present have details of any Australian tourists who may be stranded in Cyprus, but Senator Willesee expressed his appreciation for the British Government's undertalcing to evacuate any Commonwealth nationals who may be in danger or need of ·

assistance. The Government would also keep in close touch .

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with the Australian police contingent in Cyprus« Once the fighting had been brought to an end the United Nations woiild be able to resume its proper peacekeeping role in Cyprus in which the Australian Government would continue to play

its part, .