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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1061

Senator GEORGES -Is the Minister for Foreign Affairs able to give us any information on the seriousness of the situation on Cyprus? Is he able to express Australia's concern at the breakdown of the Geneva conference and his distress at the renewal of military activity on Cyprus?

Senator WILLESEE -Australia certainly deplores the renewed outbreak of very serious hostilities in Cyprus. We supported the resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council re-affirming its earlier resolution 3S3 demanding that all parties to the present fighting cease all firing and military action forthwith and resume negotiations without delay. Security Council resolution 353 called on all states to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus and called for an immediate end to foreign military intervention in Cyprus.

The Australian Government recognises the long and bitter political background to the Cyprus problem. In the past the Turkish minority on the island has been denied its constitutional rights in many respects. Moreover, the TurkishCypriot minority is entitled, as indeed is the Greek-Cypriot majority, to guarantees of security, safety and constitutional rights. It was our hope that the Geneva negotiations would reach a solution to this problem and thus ensure that peace and security were re-established on Cyprus for all the people of the island. It is to be regretted that the tripartite negotiations in Geneva, between Britain, Greece and Turkey apparently broke down because the Turkish Government refused to permit a 36-hour adjournment to enable the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr Mavros, and the Acting President of Cyprus, Mr Clerides, to consider Turkish demands for the establishment of self-governing Greek and Turkish districts under a federal government in Cyprus. For the Turkish Foreign Minister to issue an ultimatum that such a complex and far-reaching matter as the future constitutional arrangements for Cyprus should in effect be determined without appropriate consideration by the Greek or Cyprus governments is quite unreasonable. It is the more regrettable that Turkish forces should have then breached the ceasefire and are now extending the area under their control by force of arms. The onus for the resumption of fighting lies squarely on the Turkish forces.

Australia is continuing to play an active role in current efforts by the Security Council to achieve a ceasefire and to get negotiations started again. I am informed that the Security Council is in active session at present- that is, a.m. our time- and the Australian permanent representative, Sir Laurence Mclntyre, has been instructed to support resolutions insisting on the full implementation of all the recent resolutions on Cyprus by the Security Council, that those resolutions be respected by all parties and that there be an immediate and strict observance of the ceasefire. The Australian permanent representative also has been instructed to support a new resolution which would record the Security Council's formal disapproval of the resumption of military operations in Cyprus by the Turkish Government and calls on the parties to resume negotiations without delay.

As further evidence of our concern, and in order to make a tangible contribution to the reestablishment of peace on Cyprus, on 8 August the Australian Government offered to the Secretary-General of the United Nations a force of approximately 200 Australian troops to join the United Nations peace-keeping forces on the island. We also intend to maintain our police contingent which took up duty there in 1964.

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