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Relations with Kampuchea

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Ml41 14 December 1978


The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock, said today that the Government had decided to open negotiations with Kampuchea early next year with a view to entering into diplomatic relations -

. The question of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Kampuchea had been under careful and continuous review, Mr Peacock■said. He did not expect, however. that this decision would lead to any early or dramatic, results. The Government was

not contemplating the establishment of a resident diplomatic mission in Phnom Penh but was thinking in terms of accreditation of a non-resident Ambassador.

... ■ Australia recognised the present Government of Kampuchea on 17 April 1975, but did not at the time enter into formal diplomatic relations. Contact with the Kampuchean Government since 1975 has been through the Australian and Kampuchean Embassies in Peking and through the two countries' missions at

the United Nations in New- York.

Mr Peacock said that.the decision to begin talks with Kampuchea on this question had been taken in the light of a number of considerations, including the importance Australia attached to the continuing independence of Kampuchea.

Mr Peacock also noted that the establishment of diplomatic relations would enable Australia to observe for itself developments in Kampuchea and would provide direct access to the Kampuchean authorities on a more regular and sustained basis.

In this connection the Minister-referred to'the Government1 . continuing concern about reports of violations of human rights, in Kampuchea. Mr Peacock expressed the hope that the Kampuchean - Government's evident wish to improve its relations with other

countries.would lead it to modify its policies to accord more with accepted principles of human rights.