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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1565

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Can the Minister for Foreign Affairs indicate the latest developments in the creation of a United Nations peace keeping force in the Middle East? Has Australia been asked to provide a component of such a force?

Senator WILLESEE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) -I think most people know that Australia voted last week in the United Nations for the proposition to send in a peace keeping force to the Middle East and said that we would sympathetically consider any request to send troops to this area. The SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations was then instructed to come back with requests for the type of force that he wanted. He plans a force of about 7,000. He is looking at such questions as geographical and ideological locations. Of course, the permanent members of the Security Council, which are most of the big powers, are excluded from providing members of the force. So far the composition of the force has not been determined. In the interim the United Nations has moved some troops across from Cyprus to carry out an immediate survey and to move into the area immediately. As I understand the situation there will be only 7,000 troops. Very obviously a lot of nations will not be required to send large numbers of troops. We are waiting for Mr Kurt Waldheim to make up his mind exactly where he wants these people to come from. I ask honourable senators to think about the position for a bit. He has an unenviable job trying to get all the pieces together.

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