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Labor welcomes Israeli President.



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Kevin Rudd MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Security

1 March 2005

LABOR WELCOMES ISRAELI PRESIDENT

Labor welcomes the visit to Australia of the President of Israel, His Excellency Mr Moshe Katsav, and Mrs Katsav.

Labor has always supported strong ties between Australia and Israel. The Chifley Labor Government was among the first in the world to give political support to the idea of a Jewish state and under Labor Australia was the first country to vote in favour of the 1947 partition resolution.

As President of the United Nations General Assembly, former Labor Foreign Minister Dr H V Evatt also played a key role in the founding of Israel in 1948.

Labor welcomes recent developments in the Middle East which offer renewed cause for optimism including the democratic election of Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority, the ceasefire agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and Mr Abbas on 8 February and Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza.

The Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley and I will be meeting with President Katsav during his visit and will express Labor’s support for the Middle East peace process and for continued close relations between Australia and Israel.

The depth of the Australian Labor Party’s friendship for Israel goes now goes back more than 50 years and it is in this spirit that we welcome Mr Katsav’s visit.

1 March 2005

Ends.

Media contact: Kate Callaghan 0417 147 808