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Wednesday, 19 March 1980
Page: 775

Senator HAMER (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Has the Minister studied the statement issued by the President of France, Mr Giscard d'Estaing, in Kuwait recently in which he announced his full support of selfdetermination for the Palestinians? Has this communique been endorsed by countries such as Belgium, Spain, Britain and Ireland? Is it not strange that there was no mention in the communique of the security of the state of Israel? What is the attitude of the Australian Government to this matter?

Senator DURACK -The Minister for Foreign Affairs is aware of the statement that the French President made in Kuwait on 2 March referring to the right of Palestinian self-determination in the context of a negotiated settlement. The general attitude of European countries to the statement of the French President can be summed up in the words of the Lord Privy Seal of the United Kingdom who, in the House of Commons on 12 March, said:

President Giscurd was stating what has been the position of the nine since last autumn. I agree that Palestinian selfdetermination must be one element in a comprehensive settlement, Another, as the Prime Minister said on French television the night before last -

That is, two nights before this statement was made - isthatthe Palestinian people must undertake that Israel has tofight to exist within secure borders.

T he position of the Australian Government on this matter has not altered. Australia has never given any specific recognition to the Palestine Liberation Organisation and will not do so while it maintains its denial of Israel 's right to exist. At the same time, the Government does recognise that the Palestinian people, as distinct from the PLO, do have certain legitimate rights.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his statement to the United Nations General Assembly on 1 October last year, said:

Israel's right to exist within secure and recognised boundaries must be accepted. The legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to a homeland alongside Israel, and the corresponding responsibility that they live peacefully with all their neighbours must also be recognised.

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