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Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Page: 1824

Senator PRIMMER —I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the statement made by the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Mr Arafat, as reported in the Melbourne Age of 5 May. Mr Arafat is reported as saying:

What I want is peace, neither victor nor vanquished, but peace.

He then proceeded to propose direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel under the auspices of the United Nations. Further, Mr Arafat proposed mutual recognition between a Palestinian and Israeli state. Is the Minister aware of the reported rejection of this proposal by the state of Israel? Would the Minister be prepared to use his good offices to assist the PLO peace proposal?

Senator GARETH EVANS —A very full and comprehensive statement on Australia's position in relation to the Middle East and our desire for a peaceful settlement of the volatile and continuingly ugly situation there, was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the House of Representatives on Monday and tabled in this place yesterday. I am not sure that there is anything further that the Foreign Minister would wish to add to that statement in response to Senator Primmer's specific question, but I will ask him, find out, and let Senator Primmer know.