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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 15008

Mr Rudd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 19 March 2003:

(1) What are the details of his Departments dealings (including the dates, time, locations, with whom, and content) with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the matter of Iraqi refugees arising from a potential conflict with Iraq and did these dealings include any discussion of the number of refugees Australia would accept from Iraq in the event of an outbreak of hostilities.

(2) What are the details of his Departments dealings (including the dates, time, locations, with whom, and content) with different UN bodies regarding Australia's involvement in post-war reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) In Geneva on 11 March 2003, Ms Amanda Gorely, Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, accompanied the Hon Laurie Brereton MP on a call on Mr Ekber Menemencioglu, Director of the Regional Bureau for Central Asia, South West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East at UNHCR Headquarters. The call did not include any discussion of Australia accepting refugees if there were outflows following hostilities in Iraq.

(2) Mr Nick Warner, First Assistant Secretary of Pacific, Middle East and Africa Division and Mr Scott Dawson, Deputy Director-General of AusAID discussed post-conflict arrangements in Iraq with a number of UN interlocutors during a visit to New York on 5 March 2003. Mr Warner and Mr Dawson met Mr Julian Harston, Director, Asia and Middle East, Office of Operations, Department of Peacekeeping Operations; Mr Benon Sevan, Executive Director, Office of the Iraq Programme; Sir Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Political Affairs; Ms Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF and other UNICEF officials; Ms Carolyn McAskie, Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, UNOCHA; Ms Louise Frechette, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN; and Ms Julia Taft, Head of the Crisis Prevention and Recovery Bureau, UNDP.

H E Mr John Dauth, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Australian Mission to the United Nations, discussed post-conflict arrangements in Iraq with Sir Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN Secretariat during a meeting on 1 April 2003.

Ms Victoria Owen, Assistant Secretary, Middle East and Africa Branch, spoke to representatives of UNOCHA and the Office of the Iraq Programme in New York on 6 February 2003.