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Soviet coup: Australian Ambassador discusses his perception of the coup.

PETER THOMPSON: Back in Moscow, Cavan Hogue is the Australian Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and he says the time to watch for further developments will be in about twelve hours, when the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin has called for further public protest against the coup. Mr Hogue says it's impossible to estimate how many people will attend the planned rally. David Pembroke asked our Ambassador in Moscow about the latest information received by the Embassy, from the new Soviet executive committee.

CAVAN HOGUE: There was a press conference a few hours ago, at five o'clock our time - it now being nearly midnight - by Mr Yanayev. That's probably the latest word there has been. That was basically, well, him saying fairly predictable things about why they had done what they had done. These are the sorts of things that were in their earlier statement, talking about the desire to maintain reform and to also maintain their international commitments.

DAVID PEMBROKE: So you have been given no instruction as to how you should behave - it is more or less business as usual.

CAVAN HOGUE: I suppose not business as usual in the sense that there's not much business being done. We haven't had any contact with the committee as such. Of course, you know our policy is on recognition, doesn't really prevent us from talking to people at a working level, but we have not been ..... we really haven't had a great deal of direct contact simply because it hasn't been possible.

DAVID PEMBROKE: Well, since the coup was staged, you have obviously held discussions with Soviet officials. How deep is the support for this new executive council?

CAVAN HOGUE: This is the $64 question. There is clearly a lot of unhappiness; there's clearly a lot of people who don't like what's happened. There's a number of people come out and said very publicly, like the Government of Russia, and the President of Kazakhstan, and also of the Ukraine, which are major republics, have made it clear they're not very happy. So that quite obviously, there is a lot of unhappiness about it. I guess we will find out over the next two days just how much and in what way that's translated into any action.

PETER THOMPSON: Cavan Hogue, Australia's Ambassador to the Soviet Union.