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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2894

(Question No. 1331)

Senator Bourne asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, upon notice, on 16 October 1991:

  (1) What is the Australian Government's position in relation to the latest United Nations Security Council Resolution on Cyprus (716/91) which was adopted on 11 October 1991.

  (2) What action does the Australian Government propose taking within both the United Nations and the Commonwealth in response to resolution 716/91 and the associated report on Cyprus by the United Nations Secretary-General which was issued on 8 October 1991.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) Australia upholds the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and has been consistently involved in the search for a solution to the island's problems.

  This long standing and active concern for a solution to the Cyprus problem has been demonstrated by the Government's contribution to the UN Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and by its support of previous UN Security Council Resolutions 541, 550 and 649.

  Australia supports the latest UN Security Council Resolution on Cyprus (716/91) and the path towards a just and lasting settlement mapped out in this and previous Security Council Resolutions. Australia also welcomes the Secretary-General's renewed efforts to achieve a settlement to the Cyprus problem.

  (2) At the current session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Harare, the Australian Government reiterated its support for a just and peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem.

  As I said in my speech at the United Nations General Assembly's Annual General Debate in New York on 23 September, Australia remains hopeful that the UN Secretary-General's efforts will bear fruit and urges all parties to proceed with the proposed high-level international meeting.

  The Prime Minister specifically addressed the Cyprus conflict in an address at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Harare in October. In the final communique for the meeting, the Heads of Government noted the recent developments on the Cyprus problem, outlined in the UN Secretary-General's Report of 8 October 1991 and the UN Security Council Resolution 716/91. They supported the principles of the Cyprus settlement outlined in the Resolution and expressed the hope that obstacles to current UN efforts would be overcome to allow the convening of the proposed high-level international meeting.

  The Commonwealth Heads of Government also agreed that the Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus should continue to follow events in Cyprus and assist the UN Secretary-General in his efforts to find a solution. The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is a member of the Action Group on Cyprus and if called upon to do so, I am ready to join with the other members in pursuing any practical measures that will bring an end to the conflict.